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G.R. No.

100113 September 3, 1991

RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner,


vs.
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and HON.
GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management, respondents.

Renato L. Cayetano for and in his own behalf.

Sabina E. Acut, Jr. and Mylene Garcia-Albano co-counsel for petitioner.

PARAS, J.:

We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the Court's
decision in this case would indubitably have a profound effect on the political aspect of our national existence.

The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C:

There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born
citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college
degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding -elections. However, a
majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice
of law for at least ten years. (Emphasis supplied)

The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII-C of the 1973 Constitution which similarly provides:

There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and eight Commissioners who shall be
natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age and holders of a
college degree. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.' (Emphasis supplied)
Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of law as a legal qualification to an
appointive office.

Black defines "practice of law" as:

The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the
interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in the conduct of
litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings,
conveyancing, the preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces
all advice to clients and all actions taken for them in matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in the practice
of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be-an attorney, using a letterhead describing himself as an
attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with opposing counsel about pending litigation, and fixing and
collecting fees for services rendered by his associate. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.)

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken, 129 Ohio St.
23, 193 N.E. 650) A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:

... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their
rights under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before
any court, commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle
controversies and there, in such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending
the rights of their clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business
of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside
of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d
895, 340 Mo. 852)

This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) stated:

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings
and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf
of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for
them in matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an
appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and
insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been
held to constitute law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the
determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263). (Emphasis
supplied)

Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no
immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of
subjects, and the preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations
and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always
subject to become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with
men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an
attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction,
so far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of the work of the lawyer which
involves appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of
importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by persons possessed of
adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients
which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing In re
Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A.
139,144). (Emphasis ours)

The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers (1974-1975) listed the
dimensions of the practice of law in even broader terms as advocacy, counselling and public service.

One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in the profession. If what he does exacts
knowledge of the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active practice of their profession, and he
follows some one or more lines of employment such as this he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the
statute. (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312)

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge,
training and experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession.
Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree
of legal knowledge or skill." (111 ALR 23)

The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a liberal interpretation of the term
"practice of law."
MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a manifestation which I forgot to do during our review of the
provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make a very brief statement?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir).

The Commissioner will please proceed.

MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of the Commission on Audit. Among others, the
qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must be Members of the Philippine Bar" — I am quoting from the
provision — "who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years".

To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members of the Bar who are now employed in the COA or
Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this provision on qualifications regarding members of the
Bar does not necessarily refer or involve actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this to mean that as long
as the lawyers who are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their respective work within
COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as members or commissioners, even chairman, of the
Commission on Audit.

This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and we deem it important to take it up
on the floor so that this interpretation may be made available whenever this provision on the qualifications as regards members
of the Philippine Bar engaging in the practice of law for at least ten years is taken up.

MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question.

MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.

MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a lawyer is equivalent to the requirement of a law practice
that is set forth in the Article on the Commission on Audit?

MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although it is auditing, will necessarily involve legal work; it
will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are employed in COA now would have the necessary qualifications
in accordance with the Provision on qualifications under our provisions on the Commission on Audit. And, therefore, the
answer is yes.
MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is equivalent to the practice of law.

MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.

MR. OPLE. Thank you.

... ( Emphasis supplied)

Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the Chairman and two Commissioners of the
Commission on Audit (COA) should either be certified public accountants with not less than ten years of auditing practice, or
members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (emphasis supplied)

Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous with the word "lawyer." Today,
although many lawyers do not engage in private practice, it is still a fact that the majority of lawyers are private practitioners.
(Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15).

At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as commonly understood, means "an individual or
organization engaged in the business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers who practice alone are often called "sole
practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called "firms." The firm is usually a partnership and members of the firm are the partners.
Some firms may be organized as professional corporations and the members called shareholders. In either case, the members of
the firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced salaried attorneyscalled
"associates." (Ibid.).

The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous, unhelpful defining the
practice of law as that which lawyers do. (Charles W. Wolfram, Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986],
p. 593). The practice of law is defined as the performance of any acts . . . in or out of court, commonly understood to be the
practice of law. (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958]
[quoting Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because lawyers perform almost every function
known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would obviously be too global to be
workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).

The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the most publicly familiar role for lawyers as well as an
uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in courtrooms, and a large percentage spend their entire
practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593). Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to litigate and the litigating lawyer's
role colors much of both the public image and the self perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.).

In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.). Why is this so? Recall that
the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this
wise: "Even today, there are still uninformed laymen whose concept of an attorney is one who principally tries cases before the
courts. The members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most developed societies
today, substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do
both litigation and non-litigation work also know that in most cases they find themselves spending more time doing what [is]
loosely desccribe[d] as business counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described as the planner, the
diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, surgery should be
avoided where internal medicine can be effective." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, each involving different
legal doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers
of lawyers in specialized practice wig usually perform at least some legal services outside their specialty. And even within a
narrow specialty such as tax practice, a lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as advice-giving to an importantly
different one such as representing a client before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687).

By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare types — a litigator who
specializes in this work to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require the lawyer to have mastered the full range
of traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And increasingly lawyers
find that the new skills of evaluation and mediation are both effective for many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.).

Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work that is constrained in very important ways, at least
theoretically, so as to remove from it some of the salient features of adversarial litigation. Of these special roles, the most
prominent is that of prosecutor. In some lawyers' work the constraints are imposed both by the nature of the client and by the
way in which the lawyer is organized into a social unit to perform that work. The most common of these roles are those of
corporate practice and government legal service. (Ibid.).

In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below quoted are emerging trends in corporate law practice, a
departure from the traditional concept of practice of law.
We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary transformation in corporate law practice. Lawyers
and other professional groups, in particular those members participating in various legal-policy decisional contexts, are
finding that understanding the major emerging trends in corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making.

Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires an accurate understanding of the nature and
implications of the corporate law research function accompanied by an accelerating rate of information accumulation.
The recognition of the need for such improved corporate legal policy formulation, particularly "model-making" and
"contingency planning," has impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in many decisional contexts.

In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the sorting and weighing of significant conditional
factors, the appraisal of major trends, the necessity of estimating the consequences of given courses of action, and the
need for fast decision and response in situations of acute danger have prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of
information flow theory, operational analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic computing equipment.
Understandably, an improved decisional structure must stress the predictive component of the policy-making process,
wherein a "model", of the decisional context or a segment thereof is developed to test projected alternative courses of
action in terms of futuristic effects flowing therefrom.

Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in predicting and projecting the trends of the law, the
subject of corporate finance law has received relatively little organized and formalized attention in the philosophy of
advancing corporate legal education. Nonetheless, a cross-disciplinary approach to legal research has become a vital
necessity.

Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by those trained primarily in the law can be improved
through an early introduction to multi-variable decisional context and the various approaches for handling such problems.
Lawyers, particularly with either a master's or doctorate degree in business administration or management, functioning at
the legal policy level of decision-making now have some appreciation for the concepts and analytical techniques of other
professions which are currently engaged in similar types of complex decision-making.

Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would require the services of an astute attorney
because of the complex legal implications that arise from each and every necessary step in securing and maintaining the
business issue raised. (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred to as the "abogado de campanilla." He is the
"big-time" lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele composed of the tycoons and magnates of business and
industry.

Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not explain what it is that a corporate lawyer does.
For one, the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary with the size and type of the corporation.
Many smaller and some large corporations farm out all their legal problems to private law firms. Many others have in-
house counsel only for certain matters. Other corporation have a staff large enough to handle most legal problems in-
house.

A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a corporation. His areas of
concern or jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax laws research, acting out as corporate
secretary (in board meetings), appearances in both courts and other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and
Exchange Commission), and in other capacities which require an ability to deal with the law.

At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other than the legal affairs of the business of the corporation
he is representing. These include such matters as determining policy and becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis
supplied.)

In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated from the action, or not understanding how one's
work actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. This can be frustrating to someone who needs to see the results of
his work first hand. In short, a corporate lawyer is sometimes offered this fortune to be more closely involved in the
running of the business.

Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by a multinational corporation (MNC). Some large
MNCs provide one of the few opportunities available to corporate lawyers to enter the international law field. After all,
international law is practiced in a relatively small number of companies and law firms. Because working in a foreign
country is perceived by many as glamorous, tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the
overseas jobs go to experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys do their "international practice" in law libraries.
(Business Star, "Corporate Law Practice," May 25,1990, p. 4).

This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm of finance. To borrow the lines of Harvard-
educated lawyer Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one who
perceives the difficulties, and the excellent lawyer is one who surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance
Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the arm," so to speak. No longer are we talking of the
traditional law teaching method of confining the subject study to the Corporation Code and the Securities Code but an
incursion as well into the intertwining modern management issues.

Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3) types of learning: (1) acquisition of insights into
current advances which are of particular significance to the corporate counsel; (2) an introduction to usable disciplinary
skins applicable to a corporate counsel's management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the organization and
management of the legal function itself.

These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, with a shared area linking them. Otherwise known as
"intersecting managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the corporate counsel's total learning.

Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the counsel's role. For that matter, the corporate lawyer
reviews the globalization process, including the resulting strategic repositioning that the firms he provides counsel for are
required to make, and the need to think about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the nation-state
is being reduced as firms deal both with global multinational entities and simultaneously with sub-national governmental
units. Firms increasingly collaborate not only with public entities but with each other — often with those who are
competitors in other arenas.

Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within the corporation is rapidly changing. The modem
corporate lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder — in some cases participating in the organization and
operations of governance through participation on boards and other decision-making roles. Often these new patterns
develop alongside existing legal institutions and laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are complicated as
corporations organize for global operations. ( Emphasis supplied)

The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental policies toward the promotion and management of
technology. New collaborative arrangements for promoting specific technologies or competitiveness more generally
require approaches from industry that differ from older, more adversarial relationships and traditional forms of seeking
to influence governmental policies. And there are lessons to be learned from other countries. In
Europe, Esprit, Eureka and Race are examples of collaborative efforts between governmental and business
Japan's MITI is world famous. (Emphasis supplied)
Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the Corporate Counsel comprises a distinct group within the
managerial structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of both long-term and temporary groups within
organizations has been found to be related to indentifiable factors in the group-context interaction such as the groups
actively revising their knowledge of the environment coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team achievements
within the organization. In general, such external activities are better predictors of team performance than internal group
processes.

In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the managerial mettle of
corporations are challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to anticipate effective managerial procedures and to
understand relationships of financial liability and insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied)

Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors are apropos:

First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found an effective tool for new managerial thinking
regarding both planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding of the role of feedback loops, inventory
levels, and rates of flow, enable users to simulate all sorts of systematic problems — physical, economic, managerial,
social, and psychological. New programming techniques now make the system dynamics principles more accessible to
managers — including corporate counsels. (Emphasis supplied)

Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions involving complexity and uncertainty. In the
context of a law department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value of litigation, aid in negotiation settlement,
and minimize the cost and risk involved in managing a portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied)

Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based models can be used directly by parties and mediators in
all lands of negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide coherent and effective negotiation support, including
hands-on on instruction in these techniques. A simulation case of an international joint venture may be used to illustrate
the point.

[Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal function, concern three pointed areas of consideration,
thus:

Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that comprise a major part of the general counsel's
responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is concerned with minimizing the risks of
legal trouble and maximizing legal rights for such legal entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are being
considered and made.

Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are undertaken those activities of the firm to which legal
consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving economic and organizational fabric as
firms change to stay competitive in a global, interdependent environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not
adequate today to facilitate the relationships needed in trying to make a global economy work.

Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The general counsel has emerged in the last decade as
one of the most vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate counsel hear responsibility for key aspects of the
firm's strategic issues, including structuring its global operations, managing improved relationships with an increasingly
diversified body of employees, managing expanded liability exposure, creating new and varied interactions with public
decision-makers, coping internally with more complex make or by decisions.

This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law is not enough to make one a good general
corporate counsel nor to give him a full sense of how the legal system shapes corporate activities. And even if the
corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the law's effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also
gain a working knowledge of the management issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution' or
makeup of the modem corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4).

The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have more than a passing knowledge of financial law
affecting each aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance of vast tracts of the financial law territory. What
transpires next is a dilemma of professional security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he
feign understanding and risk exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC
in a letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination
because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least
ten years.

On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the COMELEC. On
June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC.
Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a
citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that said confirmation and the consequent
appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared null and void.

Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86-55%.
He has been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been
paying his professional license fees as lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)

After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law office of his
father. During his stint in the World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as an operations officer for about two years in
Costa Rica and Panama, which involved getting acquainted with the laws of member-countries negotiating loans and
coordinating legal, economic, and project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the
Meralco Group, served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently of a business conglomerate, and since
1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal and economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former
Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman (1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in
election law. He appeared for NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in
his personal capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's Conference for Human Development, has
worked with the under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in
affirmative action for the agrarian reform law and lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his legal
knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a quast judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings (1990) and as a
member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of its Committee on Accountability of Public Officers,
for which he was cited by the President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to
reconcile government functions with individual freedoms and public accountability and the party-list system for the House of
Representative. (pp. 128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied)

Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a member.

In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, and which is adequately constituted to meet the
various contingencies that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials of the Borrower concerned, there are the legal
officer (such as the legal counsel), the finance manager, and an operations officer (such as an official involved in
negotiating the contracts) who comprise the members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating Strategies
for Developing Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. 11). (Emphasis
supplied)
After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it lays down the law as far as the loan transaction is
concerned. Thus, the meat of any Loan Agreement can be compartmentalized into five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business
terms; (2) borrower's representation; (3) conditions of closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. 13).

In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring program. For aside from performing the tasks
of legislative drafting and legal advising, they score national development policies as key factors in maintaining their
countries' sovereignty. (Condensed from the work paper, entitled "Wanted: Development Lawyers for Developing
Nations," submitted by L. Michael Hager, regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for International
Development, during the Session on Law for the Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory
Coast, sponsored by the World Peace Through Law Center on August 26-31, 1973). ( Emphasis supplied)

Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely renegotiation policies, demand expertise in the
law of contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work
with an international business specialist or an economist in the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring
contract agreements contain such a mixture of technical language that they should be carefully drafted and signed only
with the advise of competent counsel in conjunction with the guidance of adequate technical support personnel. (See
International Law Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished dissertation, U.S.T. Graduate School of Law,
1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis supplied)

A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract construction is the set of terms and conditions which determines
the contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements of the contract. A good agreement must not only
define the responsibilities of both parties, but must also state the recourse open to either party when the other fails to
discharge an obligation. For a compleat debt restructuring represents a devotion to that principle which in the ultimate
analysis is sine qua non for foreign loan agreements-an adherence to the rule of law in domestic and international affairs
of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said: "They carry no banners, they beat no
drums; but where they are, men learn that bustle and bush are not the equal of quiet genius and serene mastery." (See
Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of Lawyers in Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15,
Nos. 3 and 4, Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265).

Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law". particularly the modern concept of law practice,
and taking into consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work
experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and
a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor — verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court said:

Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be performed by the officer in which it is vested according to
his best lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess the qualifications required by law. If he does,
then the appointment cannot be faulted on the ground that there are others better qualified who should have been
preferred. This is a political question involving considerations of wisdom which only the appointing authority can decide.
(emphasis supplied)

No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744) where it stated:

It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal requirements are satisfied, the
Commission has no alternative but to attest to the appointment in accordance with the Civil Service Law. The
Commission has no authority to revoke an appointment on the ground that another person is more qualified for a
particular position. It also has no authority to direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To do so would be an
encroachment on the discretion vested upon the appointing authority. An appointment is essentially within the
discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only condition that the appointee should possess the
qualifications required by law. ( Emphasis supplied)

The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1) nomination; (2)
confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in the Philippines, upon submission by the
Commission on Appointments of its certificate of confirmation, the President issues the permanent appointment; and (4)
acceptance e.g., oath-taking, posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on
Public Officers, p. 200)

The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the nomination of Monsod as Chairman of the
Commission on Elections is mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article IX of the Constitution which provides:

The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on
Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office
for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment
to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or
designated in a temporary or acting capacity.
Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that his definition of the practice of law is the
traditional or stereotyped notion of law practice, as distinguished from the modern concept of the practice of law, which
modern connotation is exactly what was intended by the eminent framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, Justice
Padilla's definition would require generally a habitual law practice, perhaps practised two or three times a week
and would outlaw say, law practice once or twice a year for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the
constitutional intent.

Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz states that in my written opinion, I made use of a definition of
law practice which really means nothing because the definition says that law practice " . . . is what people ordinarily mean by
the practice of law." True I cited the definition but only by way of sarcasm as evident from my statement that the definition of
law practice by "traditional areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of the phrase itself
that is being defined.

Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers almost all situations, most individuals, in making use of the
law, or in advising others on what the law means, are actually practicing law. In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose
sight of the fact that Mr. Monsod is a lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been practising law for over ten years.
This is different from the acts of persons practising law, without first becoming lawyers.

Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an elected President of the Philippines, say, on the ground
that he lacks one or more qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt. For one thing, how can an action or petition be brought
against the President? And even assuming that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be entertained since he is the
incumbent President?

We now proceed:

The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on Monsod's confirmation, implicitly
determined that he possessed the necessary qualifications as required by law. The judgment rendered by the Commission in the
exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of
discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's judgment. In the instant case, there is no occasion for
the exercise of the Court's corrective power, since no abuse, much less a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to lack or
excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly shown.

Additionally, consider the following:


(1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the President, may the Supreme Court reverse the
Commission, and thus in effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the negative.

(2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the Commission has confirmed? The answer is likewise
clear.

(3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S. Congress) decides to confirm a Presidential
nominee, it would be incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would still reverse the U.S. Senate.

Finally, one significant legal maxim is:

We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that giveth life.

Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who was Samson's beloved)
for help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that —

No blade shall touch his skin;

No blood shall flow from his veins.

When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator placed an iron rod burning white-hot two or three
inches away from in front of Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah
was beside herself with anger, and fuming with righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator
calmly replied: "Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on the
letter, not the spirit of the agreement.

In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
EN BANC

Bar Matter No. 553 June 17, 1993

MAURICIO C. ULEP, Petitioner, vs. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC., Respondent.

R E SO L U T I O N

REGALADO, J.:

Petitioner prays this Court "to order the respondent to cease and desist from issuing advertisements similar to or of the same
tenor as that of annexes "A" and "B" (of said petition) and to perpetually prohibit persons or entities from making
advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law profession other than those allowed by law."chanrobles virtual law library

The advertisements complained of by herein petitioner are as follows:

Annex A

SECRET MARRIAGE?
P560.00 for a valid marriage.
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE.
ANNULMENT. VISA.chanrobles virtual law library

THE Please call: 521-0767 LEGAL 5217232, 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 am- 6:00 pm 7-Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Mla.

Annex B

GUAM DIVORCE.

DON PARKINSONchanrobles virtual law library

an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during
office hours.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retiree's Visa.
Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina
Spouse/Children. Call Marivic.chanrobles virtual law library

THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy CLINIC, INC. 1 Tel. 521-7232; 521-7251; 522-
2041; 521-0767

It is the submission of petitioner that the advertisements above reproduced are champterous, unethical, demeaning of the law
profession, and destructive of the confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar and that, as a member
of the legal profession, he is ashamed and offended by the said advertisements, hence the reliefs sought in his petition as
hereinbefore quoted.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of publication of said advertisement at its instance, but claims that it is
not engaged in the practice of law but in the rendering of "legal support services" through paralegals with the use of modern
computers and electronic machines. Respondent further argues that assuming that the services advertised are legal services, the
act of advertising these services should be allowed supposedly
in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen vs. State Bar of Arizona, 2reportedly decided by the United States
Supreme Court on June 7, 1977.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Considering the critical implications on the legal profession of the issues raised herein, we required the (1) Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), (2) Philippine Bar Association (PBA), (3) Philippine Lawyers' Association (PLA), (4) U.P. Womens
Lawyers' Circle (WILOCI), (5) Women Lawyers Association of the Philippines (WLAP), and (6) Federacion International de
Abogadas (FIDA) to submit their respective position papers on the controversy and, thereafter, their memoranda. 3The said bar
associations readily responded and extended their valuable services and cooperation of which this Court takes note with
appreciation and gratitude.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The main issues posed for resolution before the Court are whether or not the services offered by respondent, The Legal Clinic,
Inc., as advertised by it constitutes practice of law and, in either case, whether the same can properly be the subject of the
advertisements herein complained of.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Before proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the merits of this case, we deem it proper and enlightening to present hereunder
excerpts from the respective position papers adopted by the aforementioned bar associations and the memoranda submitted by
them on the issues involved in this bar matter.
1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines:

xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library

Notwithstanding the subtle manner by which respondent endeavored to distinguish the two terms, i.e., "legal support
services" vis-a-vis "legal services", common sense would readily dictate that the same are essentially without substantial
distinction. For who could deny that document search, evidence gathering, assistance to layman in need of basic institutional
services from government or non-government agencies like birth, marriage, property, or business registration, obtaining
documents like clearance, passports, local or foreign visas, constitutes practice of law?

xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) does not wish to make issue with respondent's foreign citations. Suffice it to state
that the IBP has made its position manifest, to wit, that it strongly opposes the view espoused by respondent (to the effect that
today it is alright to advertise one's legal services).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The IBP accordingly declares in no uncertain terms its opposition to respondent's act of establishing a "legal clinic" and of
concomitantly advertising the same through newspaper publications.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The IBP would therefore invoke the administrative supervision of this Honorable Court to perpetually restrain respondent from
undertaking highly unethical activities in the field of law practice as aforedescribed. 4

xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library

A. The use of the name "The Legal Clinic, Inc." gives the impression that respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers
and that it renders legal services.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

While the respondent repeatedly denies that it offers legal services to the public, the advertisements in question give the
impression that respondent is offering legal services. The Petition in fact simply assumes this to be so, as earlier mentioned,
apparently because this (is) the effect that the advertisements have on the reading public.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

The impression created by the advertisements in question can be traced, first of all, to the very name being used by respondent -
"The Legal Clinic, Inc." Such a name, it is respectfully submitted connotes the rendering of legal services for legal problems,
just like a medical clinic connotes medical services for medical problems. More importantly, the term "Legal Clinic" connotes
lawyers, as the term medical clinic connotes doctors.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Furthermore, the respondent's name, as published in the advertisements subject of the present case, appears with (the) scale(s) of
justice, which all the more reinforces the impression that it is being operated by members of the bar and that it offers legal
services. In addition, the advertisements in question appear with a picture and name of a person being represented as a lawyer
from Guam, and this practically removes whatever doubt may still remain as to the nature of the service or services being
offered.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It thus becomes irrelevant whether respondent is merely offering "legal support services" as claimed by it, or whether it offers
legal services as any lawyer actively engaged in law practice does. And it becomes unnecessary to make a distinction between
"legal services" and "legal support services," as the respondent would have it. The advertisements in question leave no room for
doubt in the minds of the reading public that legal services are being offered by lawyers, whether true or
not.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

B. The advertisements in question are meant to induce the performance of acts contrary to law, morals, public order and public
policy.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It may be conceded that, as the respondent claims, the advertisements in question are only meant to inform the general public of
the services being offered by it. Said advertisements, however, emphasize to Guam divorce, and any law student ought to know
that under the Family Code, there is only one instance when a foreign divorce is recognized, and that is:

Article 26. . . .chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under
Philippine Law.

It must not be forgotten, too, that the Family Code (defines) a marriage as follows:

Article 1. Marriage is special contract of permanent union between a man and woman entered into accordance with law for the
establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature,
consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the
property relation during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.
By simply reading the questioned advertisements, it is obvious that the message being conveyed is that Filipinos can avoid the
legal consequences of a marriage celebrated in accordance with our law, by simply going to Guam for a divorce. This is not
only misleading, but encourages, or serves to induce, violation of Philippine law. At the very least, this can be considered "the
dark side" of legal practice, where certain defects in Philippine laws are exploited for the sake of profit. At worst, this is outright
malpractice.

Rule 1.02. - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal
system.

In addition, it may also be relevant to point out that advertisements such as that shown in Annex "A" of the Petition, which
contains a cartoon of a motor vehicle with the words "Just Married" on its bumper and seems to address those planning a "secret
marriage," if not suggesting a "secret marriage," makes light of the "special contract of permanent union," the inviolable social
institution," which is how the Family Code describes marriage, obviously to emphasize its sanctity and inviolability. Worse, this
particular advertisement appears to encourage marriages celebrated in secrecy, which is suggestive of immoral publication of
applications for a marriage license.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

If the article "Rx for Legal Problems" is to be reviewed, it can readily be concluded that the above impressions one may gather
from the advertisements in question are accurate. The Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion example alone confirms what the
advertisements suggest. Here it can be seen that criminal acts are being encouraged or committed
(a bigamous marriage in Hong Kong or Las Vegas) with impunity simply because the jurisdiction of Philippine courts does not
extend to the place where the crime is committed.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Even if it be assumed, arguendo, (that) the "legal support services" respondent offers do not constitute legal services as
commonly understood, the advertisements in question give the impression that respondent corporation is being operated by
lawyers and that it offers legal services, as earlier discussed. Thus, the only logical consequence is that, in the eyes of an
ordinary newspaper reader, members of the bar themselves are encouraging or inducing the performance of acts which are
contrary to law, morals, good customs and the public good, thereby destroying and demeaning the integrity of the Bar.

xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library

It is respectfully submitted that respondent should be enjoined from causing the publication of the advertisements in question, or
any other advertisements similar thereto. It is also submitted that respondent should be prohibited from further performing or
offering some of the services it presently offers, or, at the very least, from offering such services to the public in
general.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The IBP is aware of the fact that providing computerized legal research, electronic data gathering, storage and retrieval,
standardized legal forms, investigators for gathering of evidence, and like services will greatly benefit the legal profession and
should not be stifled but instead encouraged. However, when the conduct of such business by non-members of the Bar
encroaches upon the practice of law, there can be no choice but to prohibit such business.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

Admittedly, many of the services involved in the case at bar can be better performed by specialists in other fields, such as
computer experts, who by reason of their having devoted time and effort exclusively to such field cannot fulfill the exacting
requirements for admission to the Bar. To prohibit them from "encroaching" upon the legal profession will deny the profession
of the great benefits and advantages of modern technology. Indeed, a lawyer using a computer will be doing better than a lawyer
using a typewriter, even if both are (equal) in skill.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Both the Bench and the Bar, however, should be careful not to allow or tolerate the illegal practice of law in any form, not only
for the protection of members of the Bar but also, and more importantly, for the protection of the public. Technological
development in the profession may be encouraged without tolerating, but instead ensuring prevention of illegal
practice.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

There might be nothing objectionable if respondent is allowed to perform all of its services, but only if such services are made
available exclusively to members of the Bench and Bar. Respondent would then be offering technical assistance, not legal
services. Alternatively, the more difficult task of carefully distinguishing between which service may be offered to the public in
general and which should be made available exclusively to members of the Bar may be undertaken. This, however, may require
further proceedings because of the factual considerations involved.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It must be emphasized, however, that some of respondent's services ought to be prohibited outright, such as acts which tend to
suggest or induce celebration abroad of marriages which are bigamous or otherwise illegal and void under Philippine law.
While respondent may not be prohibited from simply disseminating information regarding such matters, it must be required to
include, in the information given, a disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law, that certain course of action may be
illegal under Philippine law, that it is not authorized or capable of rendering a legal opinion, that a lawyer should be consulted
before deciding on which course of action to take, and that it cannot recommend any particular lawyer without subjecting itself
to possible sanctions for illegal practice of law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

If respondent is allowed to advertise, advertising should be directed exclusively at members of the Bar, with a clear and
unmistakable disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law or perform legal services.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
The benefits of being assisted by paralegals cannot be ignored. But nobody should be allowed to represent himself as a
"paralegal" for profit, without such term being clearly defined by rule or regulation, and without any adequate and effective
means of regulating his activities. Also, law practice in a corporate form may prove to be advantageous to the legal profession,
but before allowance of such practice may be considered, the corporation's Article of Incorporation and By-laws must conform
to each and every provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Rules of Court. 5

2. Philippine Bar Association:

xxx xxx xxx.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Respondent asserts that it "is not engaged in the practice of law but engaged in giving legal support services to lawyers and
laymen, through experienced paralegals, with the use of modern computers and electronic machines" (pars. 2 and 3, Comment).
This is absurd. Unquestionably, respondent's acts of holding out itself to the public under the trade name "The Legal Clinic,
Inc.," and soliciting employment for its enumerated services fall within the realm of a practice which thus yields itself to the
regulatory powers of the Supreme Court. For respondent to say that it is merely engaged in paralegal work is to stretch
credulity. Respondent's own commercial advertisement which announces a certain Atty. Don Parkinsonto be handling the fields
of law belies its pretense. From all indications, respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." is offering and rendering legal
services through its reserve of lawyers. It has been held that the practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court,
but includes drawing of deeds, incorporation, rendering opinions, and advising clients as to their legal right and then take them
to an attorney and ask the latter to look after their case in court See Martin, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1984 ed., p.
39).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It is apt to recall that only natural persons can engage in the practice of law, and such limitation cannot be evaded by
a corporation employing competent lawyers to practice for it. Obviously, this is the scheme or device by which respondent "The
Legal Clinic, Inc." holds out itself to the public and solicits employment of its legal services. It is an odious vehicle for
deception, especially so when the public cannot ventilate any grievance for malpractice against the business conduit. Precisely,
the limitation of practice of law to persons who have been duly admitted as members of the Bar (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Revised
Rules of Court) is to subject the members to the discipline of the Supreme Court. Although respondent uses its business name,
the persons and the lawyers who act for it are subject to court discipline. The practice of law is not a profession open to all who
wish to engage in it nor can it be assigned to another (See 5 Am. Jur. 270). It is a personal rightlimited to persons who have
qualified themselves under the law. It follows that not only respondent but also all the persons who are acting for respondent are
the persons engaged in unethical law practice. 6

3. Philippine Lawyers' Association:chanrobles virtual law library


The Philippine Lawyers' Association's position, in answer to the issues stated herein, are wit:

1. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;

2. Such practice is unauthorized;

3. The advertisements complained of are not only unethical, but also misleading and patently immoral; and

4. The Honorable Supreme Court has the power to supress and punish the Legal Clinic and its corporate officers for its
unauthorized practice of law and for its unethical, misleading and immoral advertising.

xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library

Respondent posits that is it not engaged in the practice of law. It claims that it merely renders "legal support services" to
answers, litigants and the general public as enunciated in the Primary Purpose Clause of its Article(s) of Incorporation. (See
pages 2 to 5 of Respondent's Comment). But its advertised services, as enumerated above, clearly and convincingly show that it
is indeed engaged in law practice, albeit outside of court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

As advertised, it offers the general public its advisory services on Persons and Family Relations Law, particularly regarding
foreign divorces, annulment of marriages, secret marriages, absence and adoption; Immigration Laws, particularly on visa
related problems, immigration problems; the Investments Law of the Philippines and such other related
laws.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Its advertised services unmistakably require the application of the aforesaid law, the legal principles and procedures related
thereto, the legal advices based thereon and which activities call for legal training, knowledge and
experience.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Applying the test laid down by the Court in the aforecited Agrava Case, the activities of respondent fall squarely and are
embraced in what lawyers and laymen equally term as "the practice of law." 7

4. U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle:chanrobles virtual law library


In resolving, the issues before this Honorable Court, paramount consideration should be given to the protection of the general
public from the danger of being exploited by unqualified persons or entities who may be engaged in the practice of
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

At present, becoming a lawyer requires one to take a rigorous four-year course of study on top of a four-year bachelor of arts or
sciences course and then to take and pass the bar examinations. Only then, is a lawyer qualified to practice
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

While the use of a paralegal is sanctioned in many jurisdiction as an aid to the administration of justice, there are in those
jurisdictions, courses of study and/or standards which would qualify these paralegals to deal with the general public as such.
While it may now be the opportune time to establish these courses of study and/or standards, the fact remains that at present,
these do not exist in the Philippines. In the meantime, this Honorable Court may decide to make measures to protect the general
public from being exploited by those who may be dealing with the general public in the guise of being "paralegals" without
being qualified to do so.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

In the same manner, the general public should also be protected from the dangers which may be brought about by advertising of
legal services. While it appears that lawyers are prohibited under the present Code of Professional Responsibility from
advertising, it appears in the instant case that legal services are being advertised not by lawyers but by an entity staffed by
"paralegals." Clearly, measures should be taken to protect the general public from falling prey to those who advertise legal
services without being qualified to offer such services. 8

A perusal of the questioned advertisements of Respondent, however, seems to give the impression that information regarding
validity of marriages, divorce, annulment of marriage, immigration, visa extensions, declaration of absence, adoption and
foreign investment, which are in essence, legal matters , will be given to them if they avail of its services. The Respondent's
name - The Legal Clinic, Inc. - does not help matters. It gives the impression again that Respondent will or can cure the legal
problems brought to them. Assuming that Respondent is, as claimed, staffed purely by paralegals, it also gives the misleading
impression that there are lawyers involved in The Legal Clinic, Inc., as there are doctors in any medical clinic, when only
"paralegals" are involved in The Legal Clinic, Inc.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Respondent's allegations are further belied by the very admissions of its President and majority stockholder, Atty. Nogales, who
gave an insight on the structure and main purpose of Respondent corporation in the aforementioned "Starweek" article." 9

5. Women Lawyer's Association of the Philippines:chanrobles virtual law library


Annexes "A" and "B" of the petition are clearly advertisements to solicit cases for the purpose of gain which, as provided for
under the above cited law, (are) illegal and against the Code of Professional Responsibility of lawyers in this
country.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Annex "A" of the petition is not only illegal in that it is an advertisement to solicit cases, but it is illegal in that in bold letters it
announces that the Legal Clinic, Inc., could work out/cause the celebration of a secret marriage which is not only illegal but
immoral in this country. While it is advertised that one has to go to said agency and pay P560 for a valid marriage it is certainly
fooling the public for valid marriages in the Philippines are solemnized only by officers authorized to do so under the law. And
to employ an agency for said purpose of contracting marriage is not necessary.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

No amount of reasoning that in the USA, Canada and other countries the trend is towards allowing lawyers to advertise their
special skills to enable people to obtain from qualified practitioners legal services for their particular needs can justify the use of
advertisements such as are the subject matter of the petition, for one (cannot) justify an illegal act even by whatever merit the
illegal act may serve. The law has yet to be amended so that such act could become
justifiable.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

We submit further that these advertisements that seem to project that secret marriages and divorce are possible in this country
for a fee, when in fact it is not so, are highly reprehensible.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It would encourage people to consult this clinic about how they could go about having a secret marriage here, when it cannot
nor should ever be attempted, and seek advice on divorce, where in this country there is none, except under the Code of Muslim
Personal Laws in the Philippines. It is also against good morals and is deceitful because it falsely represents to the public to be
able to do that which by our laws cannot be done (and) by our Code of Morals should not be
done.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

In the case (of) In re Taguda, 53 Phil. 37, the Supreme Court held that solicitation for clients by an attorney by circulars of
advertisements, is unprofessional, and offenses of this character justify permanent elimination from the Bar. 10

6. Federacion Internacional de Abogados:

xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library


1.7 That entities admittedly not engaged in the practice of law, such as management consultancy firms or travel agencies,
whether run by lawyers or not, perform the services rendered by Respondent does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that
Respondent is not unlawfully practicing law. In the same vein, however, the fact that the business of respondent (assuming it
can be engaged in independently of the practice of law) involves knowledge of the law does not necessarily make respondent
guilty of unlawful practice of law.

. . . . Of necessity, no one . . . . acting as a consultant can render effective service unless he is familiar with such statutes and
regulations. He must be careful not to suggest a course of conduct which the law forbids. It seems . . . .clear that (the
consultant's) knowledge of the law, and his use of that knowledge as a factor in determining what measures he shall
recommend, do not constitute the practice of law . . . . It is not only presumed that all men know the law, but it is a fact that
most men have considerable acquaintance with broad features of the law . . . . Our knowledge of the law - accurate or inaccurate
- moulds our conduct not only when we are acting for ourselves, but when we are serving others. Bankers, liquor dealers and
laymen generally possess rather precise knowledge of the laws touching their particular business or profession. A good example
is the architect, who must be familiar with zoning, building and fire prevention codes, factory and tenement house statutes, and
who draws plans and specification in harmony with the law. This is not practicing law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

But suppose the architect, asked by his client to omit a fire tower, replies that it is required by the statute. Or the industrial
relations expert cites, in support of some measure that he recommends, a decision of the National Labor Relations Board. Are
they practicing law? In my opinion, they are not, provided no separate fee is charged for the legal advice or information, and the
legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal problem.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

It is largely a matter of degree and of custom.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

If it were usual for one intending to erect a building on his land to engage a lawyer to advise him and the architect in respect to
the building code and the like, then an architect who performed this function would probably be considered to be trespassing on
territory reserved for licensed attorneys. Likewise, if the industrial relations field had been pre-empted by lawyers, or custom
placed a lawyer always at the elbow of the lay personnel man. But this is not the case. The most important body of the industrial
relations experts are the officers and business agents of the labor unions and few of them are lawyers. Among the larger
corporate employers, it has been the practice for some years to delegate special responsibility in employee matters to a
management group chosen for their practical knowledge and skill in such matter, and without regard to legal thinking or lack of
it. More recently, consultants like the defendants have the same service that the larger employers get from their own specialized
staff.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The handling of industrial relations is growing into a recognized profession for which appropriate courses are offered by our
leading universities. The court should be very cautious about declaring [that] a widespread, well-established method of
conducting business is unlawful, or that the considerable class of men who customarily perform a certain function have no right
to do so, or that the technical education given by our schools cannot be used by the graduates in their business.

In determining whether a man is practicing law, we should consider his work for any particular client or customer, as a whole.
I can imagine defendant being engaged primarily to advise as to the law defining his client's obligations to his employees, to
guide his client's obligations to his employees, to guide his client along the path charted by law. This, of course, would be the
practice of the law. But such is not the fact in the case before me. Defendant's primarily efforts are along economic and
psychological lines. The law only provides the frame within which he must work, just as the zoning code limits the kind of
building the limits the kind of building the architect may plan. The incidental legal advice or information defendant may give,
does not transform his activities into the practice of law. Let me add that if, even as a minor feature of his work, he performed
services which are customarily reserved to members of the bar, he would be practicing law. For instance, if as part of a welfare
program, he drew employees' wills.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Another branch of defendant's work is the representations of the employer in the adjustment of grievances and in collective
bargaining, with or without a mediator. This is not per se the practice of law. Anyone may use an agent for negotiations and
may select an agent particularly skilled in the subject under discussion, and the person appointed is free to accept the
employment whether or not he is a member of the bar. Here, however, there may be an exception where the business turns on a
question of law. Most real estate sales are negotiated by brokers who are not lawyers. But if the value of the land depends on a
disputed right-of-way and the principal role of the negotiator is to assess the probable outcome of the dispute and persuade the
opposite party to the same opinion, then it may be that only a lawyer can accept the assignment. Or if a controversy between an
employer and his men grows from differing interpretations of a contract, or of a statute, it is quite likely that defendant should
not handle it. But I need not reach a definite conclusion here, since the situation is not presented by the
proofs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Defendant also appears to represent the employer before administrative agencies of the federal government, especially before
trial examiners of the National Labor Relations Board. An agency of the federal government, acting by virtue of an authority
granted by the Congress, may regulate the representation of parties before such agency. The State of New Jersey is without
power to interfere with such determination or to forbid representation before the agency by one whom the agency admits. The
rules of the National Labor Relations Board give to a party the right to appear in person, or by counsel, or by other
representative. Rules and Regulations, September 11th, 1946, S. 203.31. 'Counsel' here means a licensed attorney, and ther
representative' one not a lawyer. In this phase of his work, defendant may lawfully do whatever the Labor Board allows, even
arguing questions purely legal. (Auerbacher v. Wood, 53 A. 2d 800, cited in Statsky, Introduction to Paralegalism [1974], at pp.
154-156.).

1.8 From the foregoing, it can be said that a person engaged in a lawful calling (which may involve knowledge of the law) is not
engaged in the practice of law provided that:chanrobles virtual law library

(a) The legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal problem;.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

(b) The services performed are not customarily reserved to members of the bar; .chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

(c) No separate fee is charged for the legal advice or information.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

All these must be considered in relation to the work for any particular client as a whole.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library

1.9. If the person involved is both lawyer and non-lawyer, the Code of Professional Responsibility succintly states the rule of
conduct:chanrobles virtual law library

Rule 15.08 - A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or occupation concurrently with the practice of law shall make
clear to his client whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

1.10. In the present case. the Legal Clinic appears to render wedding services (See Annex "A" Petition). Services on routine,
straightforward marriages, like securing a marriage license, and making arrangements with a priest or a judge, may not
constitute practice of law. However, if the problem is as complicated as that described in "Rx for Legal Problems" on the
Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion-Richard Gomez case, then what may be involved is actually the practice of law. If a non-
lawyer, such as the Legal Clinic, renders such services then it is engaged in the unauthorized practice of
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

1.11. The Legal Clinic also appears to give information on divorce, absence, annulment of marriage and visas (See Annexes
"A" and "B" Petition). Purely giving informational materials may not constitute of law. The business is similar to that of a
bookstore where the customer buys materials on the subject and determines on the subject and determines by himself what
courses of action to take.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It is not entirely improbable, however, that aside from purely giving information, the Legal Clinic's paralegals may apply the
law to the particular problem of the client, and give legal advice. Such would constitute unauthorized practice of law.

It cannot be claimed that the publication of a legal text which publication of a legal text which purports to say what the law is
amount to legal practice. And the mere fact that the principles or rules stated in the text may be accepted by a particular reader
as a solution to his problem does not affect this. . . . . Apparently it is urged that the conjoining of these two, that is, the text and
the forms, with advice as to how the forms should be filled out, constitutes the unlawful practice of law. But that is the situation
with many approved and accepted texts. Dacey's book is sold to the public at large. There is no personal contact or relationship
with a particular individual. Nor does there exist that relation of confidence and trust so necessary to the status of attorney and
client. THIS IS THE ESSENTIAL OF LEGAL PRACTICE - THE REPRESENTATION AND ADVISING OF A PARTICULAR
PERSON IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION. At most the book assumes to offer general advice on common problems, and does
not purport to give personal advice on a specific problem peculiar to a designated or readily identified person. Similarly the
defendant's publication does not purport to give personal advice on a specific problem peculiar to a designated or readily
identified person in a particular situation - in their publication and sale of the kits, such publication and sale did not constitutes
the unlawful practice of law . . . . There being no legal impediment under the statute to the sale of the kit, there was no proper
basis for the injunction against defendant maintaining an office for the purpose of selling to persons seeking a divorce,
separation, annulment or separation agreement any printed material or writings relating to matrimonial law or the prohibition in
the memorandum of modification of the judgment against defendant having an interest in any publishing house publishing his
manuscript on divorce and against his having any personal contact with any prospective purchaser. The record does fully
support, however, the finding that for the change of $75 or $100 for the kit, the defendant gave legal advice in the course of
personal contacts concerning particular problems which might arise in the preparation and presentation of the purchaser's
asserted matrimonial cause of action or pursuit of other legal remedies and assistance in the preparation of necessary documents
(The injunction therefore sought to) enjoin conduct constituting the practice of law, particularly with reference to the giving of
advice and counsel by the defendant relating to specific problems of particular individuals in connection with a divorce,
separation, annulment of separation agreement sought and should be affirmed. (State v. Winder, 348, NYS 2D 270 [1973], cited
in Statsky, supra at p. 101.).

1.12. Respondent, of course, states that its services are "strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory. "It is not controverted, however,
that if the services "involve giving legal advice or counselling," such would constitute practice of law (Comment, par. 6.2). It is
in this light that FIDA submits that a factual inquiry may be necessary for the judicious disposition of this case.
xxx xxx xxxchanrobles virtual law library

2.10. Annex "A" may be ethically objectionable in that it can give the impression (or perpetuate the wrong notion) that there is a
secret marriage. With all the solemnities, formalities and other requisites of marriages (See Articles 2, et seq., Family Code), no
Philippine marriage can be secret.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

2.11. Annex "B" may likewise be ethically objectionable. The second paragraph thereof (which is not necessarily related to the
first paragraph) fails to state the limitation that only "paralegal services?" or "legal support services", and not legal services, are
available." 11chanrobles virtual law library

A prefatory discussion on the meaning of the phrase "practice of law" becomes exigent for the proper determination of the
issues raised by the petition at bar. On this score, we note that the clause "practice of law" has long been the subject of judicial
construction and interpretation. The courts have laid down general principles and doctrines explaining the meaning and scope of
the term, some of which we now take into account.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedures, knowledge,
training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristic of the profession.
Generally, to practice law is to give advice or render any kind of service that involves legal knowledge or skill. 12chanrobles
virtual law library

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes legal advice and counsel, and the preparation of
legal instruments and contract by which legal rights are secured, although such matter may or may not be pending in a
court. 13chanrobles virtual law library

In the practice of his profession, a licensed attorney at law generally engages in three principal types of professional activity:
legal advice and instructions to clients to inform them of their rights and obligations, preparation for clients of documents
requiring knowledge of legal principles not possessed by ordinary layman, and appearance for clients before public tribunals
which possess power and authority to determine rights of life, liberty, and property according to law, in order to assist in proper
interpretation and enforcement of law. 14chanrobles virtual law library

When a person participates in the a trial and advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in the practice of law. 15One who confers with
clients, advises them as to their legal rights and then takes the business to an attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in
court, is also practicing law. 16Giving advice for compensation regarding the legal status and rights of another and the conduct
with respect thereto constitutes a practice of law. 17One who renders an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a statute, and
receives pay for it, is, to that extent, practicing law. 18chanrobles virtual law library

In the recent case of Cayetano vs. Monsod, 19after citing the doctrines in several cases, we laid down the test to determine
whether certain acts constitute "practice of law," thus:

Black defines "practice of law" as:chanrobles virtual law library

The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of
another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but
embraces the preparation of pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the
preparation of legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients and all
actions taken for them in matters connected with the law.

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases on court.(Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v. Dworken , 129 Ohio St.
23, 193N. E. 650). A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he:

. . . . for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or corporations as to their right
under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings, pending or prospective, before any court,
commissioner, referee, board, body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and
there, in such representative capacity, performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the rights of their
clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to
their rights under the law, or while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is
engaged in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S. W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852).

This Court, in the case of Philippines Lawyers Association v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-177),stated:

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and
other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients
before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters
connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance before a
judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and
conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters or estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do
the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind of
the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262, 263).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Practice of law under modern conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no
immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects
and the preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other
affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to become
involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and
great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor at law
bear an intimate relation to the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set
forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part
which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that these
manifold customary functions be performed by persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and
acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules o
Court, Vol. 3 [1973 ed.], pp. 665-666, citing In Re Opinion of the Justices [Mass], 194 N. E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar
Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 197 A. 139, 144).

The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range of activities in and out of court. Applying the aforementioned criteria to the
case at bar, we agree with the perceptive findings and observations of the aforestated bar associations that the activities of
respondent, as advertised, constitute "practice of law."chanrobles virtual law library

The contention of respondent that it merely offers legal support services can neither be seriously considered nor sustained. Said
proposition is belied by respondent's own description of the services it has been offering, to wit:

Legal support services basically consists of giving ready information by trained paralegals to laymen and lawyers, which are
strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory, through the extensive use of computers and modern information technology in the
gathering, processing, storage, transmission and reproduction of information and communication, such as computerized legal
research; encoding and reproduction of documents and pleadings prepared by laymen or lawyers; document search; evidence
gathering; locating parties or witnesses to a case; fact finding investigations; and assistance to laymen in need of basic
institutional services from government or non-government agencies, like birth, marriage, property, or business registrations;
educational or employment records or certifications, obtaining documentation like clearances, passports, local or foreign visas;
giving information about laws of other countries that they may find useful, like foreign divorce, marriage or adoption laws that
they can avail of preparatory to emigration to the foreign country, and other matters that do not involve representation of clients
in court; designing and installing computer systems, programs, or software for the efficient management of law offices,
corporate legal departments, courts and other entities engaged in dispensing or administering legal services. 20chanrobles virtual
law library

While some of the services being offered by respondent corporation merely involve mechanical and technical knowhow, such as
the installation of computer systems and programs for the efficient management of law offices, or the computerization of
research aids and materials, these will not suffice to justify an exception to the general
rule.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives out legal information to laymen and lawyers. Its contention that such
function is non-advisory and non-diagnostic is more apparent than real. In providing information, for example, about foreign
laws on marriage, divorce and adoption, it strains the credulity of this Court that all the respondent corporation will simply do is
look for the law, furnish a copy thereof to the client, and stop there as if it were merely a bookstore. With its attorneys and so
called paralegals, it will necessarily have to explain to the client the intricacies of the law and advise him or her on the proper
course of action to be taken as may be provided for by said law. That is what its advertisements represent and for the which
services it will consequently charge and be paid. That activity falls squarely within the jurisprudential definition of "practice of
law." Such a conclusion will not be altered by the fact that respondent corporation does not represent clients in court since law
practice, as the weight of authority holds, is not limited merely giving legal advice, contract drafting and so
forth.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The aforesaid conclusion is further strengthened by an article published in the January 13, 1991 issue of the Starweek/The
Sunday Magazine of the Philippines Star, entitled "Rx for Legal Problems," where an insight into the structure, main purpose
and operations of respondent corporation was given by its own "proprietor," Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales:

This is the kind of business that is transacted everyday at The Legal Clinic, with offices on the seventh floor of the Victoria
Building along U. N. Avenue in Manila. No matter what the client's problem, and even if it is as complicated as the Cuneta-
Concepcion domestic situation, Atty. Nogales and his staff of lawyers, who, like doctors are "specialists" in various fields can
take care of it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation, and
family law. These specialist are backed up by a battery of paralegals, counsellors and
attorneys.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Atty. Nogales set up The Legal Clinic in 1984. Inspired by the trend in the medical field toward specialization, it caters to
clients who cannot afford the services of the big law firms.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
The Legal Clinic has regular and walk-in clients. "when they come, we start by analyzing the problem. That's what doctors do
also. They ask you how you contracted what's bothering you, they take your temperature, they observe you for the symptoms
and so on. That's how we operate, too. And once the problem has been categorized, then it's referred to one of our
specialists.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

There are cases which do not, in medical terms, require surgery or follow-up treatment. These The Legal Clinic disposes of in a
matter of minutes. "Things like preparing a simple deed of sale or an affidavit of loss can be taken care of by our staff or, if this
were a hospital the residents or the interns. We can take care of these matters on a while you wait basis. Again, kung baga sa
hospital, out-patient, hindi kailangang ma-confine. It's just like a common cold or diarrhea," explains Atty.
Nogales.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Those cases which requires more extensive "treatment" are dealt with accordingly. "If you had a rich relative who died and
named you her sole heir, and you stand to inherit millions of pesos of property, we would refer you to a specialist in taxation.
There would be real estate taxes and arrears which would need to be put in order, and your relative is even taxed by the state for
the right to transfer her property, and only a specialist in taxation would be properly trained to deal with the problem. Now, if
there were other heirs contesting your rich relatives will, then you would need a litigator, who knows how to arrange the
problem for presentation in court, and gather evidence to support the case. 21chanrobles virtual law library

That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to carry out its services is not controlling. What is important is that it is
engaged in the practice of law by virtue of the nature of the services it renders which thereby brings it within the ambit of the
statutory prohibitions against the advertisements which it has caused to be published and are now assailed in this
proceeding.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Further, as correctly and appropriately pointed out by the U.P. WILOCI, said reported facts sufficiently establish that the main
purpose of respondent is to serve as a one-stop-shop of sorts for various legal problems wherein a client may avail of legal
services from simple documentation to complex litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these services are undoubtedly
beyond the domain of paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in the practice of law. 22chanrobles
virtual law library

It should be noted that in our jurisdiction the services being offered by private respondent which constitute practice of law
cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a person duly admitted as a member of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in
accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice
law. 23chanrobles virtual law library
Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character.
The permissive right conferred on the lawyers is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain
proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client and the bar from
the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the
court. 24chanrobles virtual law library

The same rule is observed in the american jurisdiction wherefrom respondent would wish to draw support for his thesis. The
doctrines there also stress that the practice of law is limited to those who meet the requirements for, and have been admitted to,
the bar, and various statutes or rules specifically so provide. 25The practice of law is not a lawful business except for members
of the bar who have complied with all the conditions required by statute and the rules of court. Only those persons are allowed
to practice law who, by reason of attainments previously acquired through education and study, have been recognized by the
courts as possessing profound knowledge of legal science entitling them to advise, counsel with, protect, or defend the rights
claims, or liabilities of their clients, with respect to the construction, interpretation, operation and effect of law. 26The
justification for excluding from the practice of law those not admitted to the bar is found, not in the protection of the bar from
competition, but in the protection of the public from being advised and represented in legal matters by incompetent and
unreliable persons over whom the judicial department can exercise little control. 27chanrobles virtual law library

We have to necessarily and definitely reject respondent's position that the concept in the United States of paralegals as an
occupation separate from the law profession be adopted in this jurisdiction. Whatever may be its merits, respondent cannot but
be aware that this should first be a matter for judicial rules or legislative action, and not of unilateral adoption as it has
done.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Paralegals in the United States are trained professionals. As admitted by respondent, there are schools and universities there
which offer studies and degrees in paralegal education, while there are none in the Philippines. 28As the concept of the
"paralegals" or "legal assistant" evolved in the United States, standards and guidelines also evolved to protect the general
public. One of the major standards or guidelines was developed by the American Bar Association which set up Guidelines for
the Approval of Legal Assistant Education Programs (1973). Legislation has even been proposed to certify legal assistants.
There are also associations of paralegals in the United States with their own code of professional ethics, such as the National
Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. and the American Paralegal Association. 29chanrobles virtual law library

In the Philippines, we still have a restricted concept and limited acceptance of what may be considered as paralegal service. As
pointed out by FIDA, some persons not duly licensed to practice law are or have been allowed limited representation in behalf
of another or to render legal services, but such allowable services are limited in scope and extent by the law, rules or regulations
granting permission therefor. 30chanrobles virtual law library
Accordingly, we have adopted the American judicial policy that, in the absence of constitutional or statutory authority, a person
who has not been admitted as an attorney cannot practice law for the proper administration of justice cannot be hindered by the
unwarranted intrusion of an unauthorized and unskilled person into the practice of law. 31That policy should continue to be one
of encouraging persons who are unsure of their legal rights and remedies to seek legal assistance only from persons licensed to
practice law in the state. 32chanrobles virtual law library

Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer
in making known his legal services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement of
facts. 33He is not supposed to use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or
unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services. 34Nor shall he pay or give something of value to
representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business. 35Prior to the adoption of
the code of Professional Responsibility, the Canons of Professional Ethics had also warned that lawyers should not resort to
indirect advertisements for professional employment, such as furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his
photograph to be published in connection with causes in which the lawyer has been or is engaged or concerning the manner of
their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved, the importance of the lawyer's position, and all other like self-
laudation. 36chanrobles virtual law library

The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyer's advertisement of his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the
ethics of his profession. advertise his talents or skill as in a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods. 37The
prescription against advertising of legal services or solicitation of legal business rests on the fundamental postulate that the that
the practice of law is a profession. Thus, in the case of The Director of Religious Affairs. vs. Estanislao R. Bayot 38 an
advertisement, similar to those of respondent which are involved in the present proceeding, 39was held to constitute improper
advertising or solicitation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The pertinent part of the decision therein reads:

It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was a flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of his profession, it
being a brazen solicitation of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that "the
practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes
malpractice." It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares. Law is a
profession and not a trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his profession who stoops to and adopts the practices of
mercantilism by advertising his services or offering them to the public. As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of justice
with mercenary activities as the money-changers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. "The most worthy and effective
advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer, . . . . is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity
and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.).

We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that the best advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for
professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient
service to a client as well as to the community has a way of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a
normal by-product of effective service which is right and proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to
generate it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product of able service and the
unwholesome result of propaganda. 40chanrobles virtual law library

Of course, not all types of advertising or solicitation are prohibited. The canons of the profession enumerate exceptions to the
rule against advertising or solicitation and define the extent to which they may be undertaken. The exceptions are of two broad
categories, namely, those which are expressly allowed and those which are necessarily implied from the
restrictions. 41chanrobles virtual law library

The first of such exceptions is the publication in reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the standards of conduct
imposed by the canons, of brief biographical and informative data. "Such data must not be misleading and may include only a
statement of the lawyer's name and the names of his professional associates; addresses, telephone numbers, cable addresses;
branches of law practiced; date and place of birth and admission to the bar; schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees
and other educational distinction; public or quasi-public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships; legal teaching positions;
membership and offices in bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and scientific societies and legal fraternities; the
fact of listings in other reputable law lists; the names and addresses of references; and, with their written consent, the names of
clients regularly represented." 42chanrobles virtual law library

The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere supplemental feature of a
paper, magazine, trade journal or periodical which is published principally for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not
properly publish his brief biographical and informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program. Nor
may a lawyer permit his name to be published in a law list the conduct, management or contents of which are calculated or
likely to deceive or injure the public or the bar, or to lower the dignity or standing of the profession. 43chanrobles virtual law
library

The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain only a statement of his name, the name
of the law firm which he is connected with, address, telephone number and special branch of law practiced. The publication of a
simple announcement of the opening of a law firm or of changes in the partnership, associates, firm name or office address,
being for the convenience of the profession, is not objectionable. He may likewise have his name listed in a telephone directory
but not under a designation of special branch of law. 44chanrobles virtual law library

Verily, taking into consideration the nature and contents of the advertisements for which respondent is being taken to task,
which even includes a quotation of the fees charged by said respondent corporation for services rendered, we find and so hold
that the same definitely do not and conclusively cannot fall under any of the above-mentioned
exceptions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The ruling in the case of Bates, et al. vs. State Bar of Arizona, 45 which is repeatedly invoked and constitutes the justification
relied upon by respondent, is obviously not applicable to the case at bar. Foremost is the fact that the disciplinary rule involved
in said case explicitly allows a lawyer, as an exception to the prohibition against advertisements by lawyers, to publish a
statement of legal fees for an initial consultation or the availability upon request of a written schedule of fees or an estimate of
the fee to be charged for the specific services. No such exception is provided for, expressly or impliedly, whether in our former
Canons of Professional Ethics or the present Code of Professional Responsibility. Besides, even the disciplinary rule in
the Bates case contains a proviso that the exceptions stated therein are "not applicable in any state unless and until it is
implemented by such authority in that state." 46This goes to show that an exception to the general rule, such as that being
invoked by herein respondent, can be made only if and when the canons expressly provide for such an exception. Otherwise, the
prohibition stands, as in the case at bar.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

It bears mention that in a survey conducted by the American Bar Association after the decision in Bates, on the attitude of the
public about lawyers after viewing television commercials, it was found that public opinion dropped significantly 47 with respect
to these characteristics of lawyers:

Trustworthy from 71% to 14%


Professional from 71% to 14%
Honest from 65% to 14%
Dignified from 45% to 14%

Secondly, it is our firm belief that with the present situation of our legal and judicial systems, to allow the publication of
advertisements of the kind used by respondent would only serve to aggravate what is already a deteriorating public opinion of
the legal profession whose integrity has consistently been under attack lately by media and the community in general. At this
point in time, it is of utmost importance in the face of such negative, even if unfair, criticisms at times, to adopt and maintain
that level of professional conduct which is beyond reproach, and to exert all efforts to regain the high esteem formerly accorded
to the legal profession.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In sum, it is undoubtedly a misbehavior on the part of the lawyer, subject to disciplinary action, to advertise his services except
in allowable instances 48or to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law. 49Considering that Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales, who
is the prime incorporator, major stockholder and proprietor of The Legal Clinic, Inc. is a member of the Philippine Bar, he is
hereby reprimanded, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts which are involved in this proceeding will be
dealt with more severely.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

While we deem it necessary that the question as to the legality or illegality of the purpose/s for which the Legal Clinic, Inc. was
created should be passed upon and determined, we are constrained to refrain from lapsing into an obiter on that aspect since it is
clearly not within the adjudicative parameters of the present proceeding which is merely administrative in nature. It is, of
course, imperative that this matter be promptly determined, albeit in a different proceeding and forum, since, under the present
state of our law and jurisprudence, a corporation cannot be organized for or engage in the practice of law in this country. This
interdiction, just like the rule against unethical advertising, cannot be subverted by employing some so-called paralegals
supposedly rendering the alleged support services.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The remedy for the apparent breach of this prohibition by respondent is the concern and province of the Solicitor General who
can institute the corresponding quo warranto action, 50 after due ascertainment of the factual background and basis for the grant
of respondent's corporate charter, in light of the putative misuse thereof. That spin-off from the instant bar matter is referred to
the Solicitor General for such action as may be necessary under the circumstances.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and ENJOIN herein respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., from issuing or
causing the publication or dissemination of any advertisement in any form which is of the same or similar tenor and purpose as
Annexes "A" and "B" of this petition, and from conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity, operation or transaction
proscribed by law or the Code of Professional Ethics as indicated herein. Let copies of this resolution be furnished the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Office of the Solicitor General for appropriate action
in accordance herewith.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Quiason, JJ.,
concur
DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE, complainant, vs. EDWIN L. RANA, respondent.

DECISION
CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before one is admitted to the Philippine Bar, he must possess the requisite moral integrity for membership in the legal
profession. Possession of moral integrity is of greater importance than possession of legal learning. The practice of law is a
privilege bestowed only on the morally fit. A bar candidate who is morally unfit cannot practice law even if he passes the bar
examinations.

The Facts

Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations.
On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of successful bar examinees as members of the Philippine
Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre (complainant) filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the
Bar. Complainant charged respondent with unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and grave
misrepresentation.
The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Bar during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 May 2001 at
the Philippine International Convention Center. However, the Court ruled that respondent could not sign the Roll of Attorneys
pending the resolution of the charge against him. Thus, respondent took the lawyers oath on the scheduled date but has not signed
the Roll of Attorneys up to now.
Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized practice of law and grave misconduct. Complainant alleges that respondent,
while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before the Municipal Board of Election
Canvassers (MBEC) of Mandaon, Masbate. Complainant further alleges that respondent filed with the MBEC a pleading dated
19 May 2001 entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-
Mayor. In this pleading, respondent represented himself as counsel for and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan,
and signed the pleading as counsel for George Bunan (Bunan).
On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that respondent is a municipal government employee, being a secretary
of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As such, respondent is not allowed by law to act as counsel for a client in any
court or administrative body.
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, complainant accuses respondent of acting as counsel for vice
mayoralty candidate George Bunan (Bunan) without the latter engaging respondents services. Complainant claims that respondent
filed the pleading as a ploy to prevent the proclamation of the winning vice mayoralty candidate.
On 22 May 2001, the Court issued a resolution allowing respondent to take the lawyers oath but disallowed him from signing
the Roll of Attorneys until he is cleared of the charges against him. In the same resolution, the Court required respondent to
comment on the complaint against him.
In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought his specific assistance to represent him before the MBEC. Respondent
claims that he decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a person who knows the law. Respondent admits signing
the 19 May 2001 pleading that objected to the inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He explains, however, that he did not
sign the pleading as a lawyer or represented himself as an attorney in the pleading.
On his employment as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent claims that he submitted his resignation on 11 May
2001 which was allegedly accepted on the same date. He submitted a copy of the Certification of Receipt of Revocable Resignation
dated 28 May 2001 signed by Vice-Mayor Napoleon Relox. Respondent further claims that the complaint is politically motivated
considering that complainant is the daughter of Silvestre Aguirre, the losing candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
Respondent prays that the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit and that he be allowed to sign the Roll of Attorneys.
On 22 June 2001, complainant filed her Reply to respondents Comment and refuted the claim of respondent that his
appearance before the MBEC was only to extend specific assistance to Bunan. Complainant alleges that on 19 May 2001 Emily
Estipona-Hao (Estipona-Hao) filed a petition for proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor. Respondent signed as counsel
for Estipona-Hao in this petition. When respondent appeared as counsel before the MBEC, complainant questioned his appearance
on two grounds: (1) respondent had not taken his oath as a lawyer; and (2) he was an employee of the government.
Respondent filed a Reply (Re: Reply to Respondents Comment) reiterating his claim that the instant administrative case is
motivated mainly by political vendetta.
On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for evaluation, report and
recommendation.

OBCs Report and Recommendation


The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC as counsel for Bunan in the May 2001 elections. The
minutes of the MBEC proceedings show that respondent actively participated in the proceedings. The OBC likewise found that
respondent appeared in the MBEC proceedings even before he took the lawyers oath on 22 May 2001. The OBC believes that
respondents misconduct casts a serious doubt on his moral fitness to be a member of the Bar. The OBC also believes that
respondents unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny his admission to the practice of law. The OBC therefore recommends
that respondent be denied admission to the Philippine Bar.
On the other charges, OBC stated that complainant failed to cite a law which respondent allegedly violated when he appeared
as counsel for Bunan while he was a government employee. Respondent resigned as secretary and his resignation was accepted.
Likewise, respondent was authorized by Bunan to represent him before the MBEC.

The Courts Ruling

We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC that respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus
does not deserve admission to the Philippine Bar.
Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001. However, the records show that respondent appeared as counsel for
Bunan prior to 22 May 2001, before respondent took the lawyers oath. In the pleading entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion
in the Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor dated 19 May 2001, respondent signed as counsel for
George Bunan. In the first paragraph of the same pleading respondent stated that he was the (U)ndersigned Counsel for, and in
behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN. Bunan himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he had
authorized Atty. Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to represent him before the MBEC and similar bodies.
On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao also retained respondent as her counsel. On the same date, 14
May 2001, Erly D. Hao informed the MBEC that Atty. Edwin L. Rana has been authorized by REFORMA LM-PPC as the legal
counsel of the party and the candidate of the said party. Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he was entering
his appearance as counsel for Mayoralty Candidate Emily Estipona-Hao and for the REFORMA LM-PPC. On 19 May 2001,
respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in the petition filed before the MBEC praying for the proclamation of Estipona-
Hao as the winning candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
All these happened even before respondent took the lawyers oath. Clearly, respondent engaged in the practice of law without
being a member of the Philippine Bar.
In Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava,[1] the Court elucidated that:
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and
other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients
before judges and courts, and in addition, conveyancing. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in
matters connected with the law,incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services contemplating an appearance
before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency
proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute
law practice, as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the determination by the
trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jur. p. 262, 263). (Italics supplied) x x x

In Cayetano v. Monsod,[2] the Court held that practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform acts which
are usually performed by members of the legal profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of service which
requires the use of legal knowledge or skill.
Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the proceedings before the MBEC and filed various
pleadings, without license to do so. Evidence clearly supports the charge of unauthorized practice of law. Respondent called
himself counsel knowing fully well that he was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as counsel knowing that he had
no authority to practice law, respondent has shown moral unfitness to be a member of the Philippine Bar.[3]
The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral character
with special qualifications duly ascertained and certified.The exercise of this privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal
knowledge, educational attainment, and even public trust[4] since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate does not
acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld
even from one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person seeking admission had practiced law without a license.[5]
The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. Abad,[6] a candidate passed the bar
examinations but had not taken his oath and signed the Roll of Attorneys. He was held in contempt of court for practicing law
even before his admission to the Bar. Under Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages in the
unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of court.[7]
True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyers oath. However, it is the signing in the Roll of
Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing
the bar is not the only qualification to become an attorney-at-law.[8] Respondent should know that two essential requisites for
becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyers oath to be administered by this Court and his signature in the
Roll of Attorneys.[9]
On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends that the law does not allow respondent to act as counsel for a private
client in any court or administrative body since respondent is the secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan.
Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan prior to the acts complained of as constituting
unauthorized practice of law. In his letter dated 11 May 2001 addressed to Napoleon Relox, vice- mayor and presiding officer of
the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent stated that he was resigning effective upon your acceptance.[10] Vice-Mayor Relox accepted
respondents resignation effective 11 May 2001.[11] Thus, the evidence does not support the charge that respondent acted as counsel
for a client while serving as secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan.
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, evidence shows that Bunan indeed authorized respondent to
represent him as his counsel before the MBEC and similar bodies. While there was no misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless
had no authority to practice law.
WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the Philippine Bar.
SO ORDERED.
A.C. No. 7593, March 11, 2015

ALVIN S. FELICIANO, Complainant, v. ATTY. CARMELITA BAUTISTA-LOZADA, Respondents.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Before us is a Petition for Disbarment1 dated August 2, 2007 filed by Alvin S. Feliciano (complainant) against respondent Atty.
Carmelita Bautista-Lozada (Atty. Lozada) for violation of Section 27,2 Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.

The facts of the case, as culled from the records, are as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

On December 13, 2005, the Court en banc promulgated a Resolution in A.C. No. 6656 entitled “Bobie Rose V. Frias vs. Atty.
Carmencita Bautista Lozada”3 suspending Atty. Lozada for violation of Rules 15.03 and 16.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Carmencita Bautista Lozada is hereby found guilty of violating Rules 15.03 and 16.04 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility and of willfully disobeying a final and executory decision of the Court of Appeals. She is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years from notice, with a STERN WARNING that a
repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.

Let copies of this Resolution be furnished all courts of the land, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, as well as the Office of
the Bar Confidant, for their information and guidance, and let it be entered in respondent's personal records.

SO ORDERED.4
On May 4, 2006, the Court denied with finality Atty. Lozada's motion for reconsideration. 5chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

However, on June 5, 2007, in an action for injunction with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of
preliminary injunction docketed as Civil Case no. 101-V-07 entitled “Edilberto Lozada, et.al. vs. Alvin S. Feliciano, et al.,”
where complainant was one of the respondents, complainant lamented that Atty. Lozada appeared as counsel for the plaintiff
and her husband, Edilberto Lozada, and actively participated in the proceedings of the case before Branch 75 of the Regional
Trial Court of Valenzuela City. To prove his allegation, complainant submitted certified true copies of the minutes of the
hearings, dated June 12, 2007, July 3, 2007 and July 6, 2007, wherein Atty. Lozada signed her name as one of the counsels,6 as
well as the transcript of stenographic notes showing that Atty. Lozada conducted direct examination and cross-examination of
the witnesses during the trial proceedings.7chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Complainant argued that the act of Atty. Lozada in appearing as counsel while still suspended from the practice of law
constitutes willfull disobedience to the resolutions of the Court which suspended her from the practice of law for two (2) years.

On September 12, 2007, the Court resolved to require Atty. Lozada to comment on the complaint against
him.8chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

In her Comment9 dated November 19, 2007, Atty. Lozada explained that she was forced by circumstances and her desire to
defend the rights of her husband who is embroiled in a legal dispute. She claimed that she believed in good faith that her
appearance as wife of Edilberto Lozada is not within the prohibition to practice law, considering that she is defending her
husband and not a client. She insisted that her husband is a victim of grave injustice, and his reputation and honor are at stake;
thus, she has no choice but to give him legal assistance.10chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

On January 30, 2008, the Court referred the instant case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation, report and
recommendation.11chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

In its Report and Recommendation12 dated March 9, 2009, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline
(IBP-CBD) found Atty. Lozada guilty of violating Rule 1.01 & 1.02, Rule 18.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and
the terms of her suspension from the practice of law as imposed by the Court. Thus, the IBP-CBD recommended the disbarment
of Atty. Lozada.

On May 14, 2011, however, the IBP-Board of Governors resolved to adopt and approve with modification the report and
recommendation of the IBP-CBD such that it recommended instead that Atty. Lozada be suspended from the practice of law for
three (3) months.

RULING

We adopt the ruling of the IBP-Board of Governors with modification.

Indeed, this Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law. When this Court orders a lawyer suspended from
the practice of law, as in the instant case, the lawyer must desist from performing all functions requiring the application of legal
knowledge within the period of suspension.13chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Suffice it to say that practice of law embraces "any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experience." It includes "[performing] acts which are characteristics of the [legal]
profession" or "[rendering any kind of] service [which] requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or
skill.”14chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

In the instant case, Atty. Lozada's guilt is undisputed. Based on the records, there is no doubt that Atty. Lozada's actuations, that
is, in appearing and signing as counsel for and in behalf of her husband, conducting or offering stipulation/admission of facts,
conducting direct and cross-examination, all constitute practice of law. Furthermore, the findings of the IBP would disclose that
such actuations of Atty. Lozada of actively engaging in the practice of law in June-July 2007 were done within the period of her
two (2)-year suspension considering that she was suspended from the practice of law by this Court in May 4, 2006. It would
then appear that, at the very least, Atty. Lozada cannot practice law from 2006 to 2008. Thus, it is clear that when Atty. Lozada
appeared for and in behalf of her husband in Civil Case No. 101-V-07 and actively participated in the proceedings therein in
June-July 2007, or within the two (2)-year suspension, she, therefore, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Atty. Lozada's defense of good faith fails to convince. She knew very well that at the time she represented her husband, she is
still serving her two (2)-year suspension order. Yet, she failed to inform the court about it. Neither did she seek any clearance or
clarification from the Court if she can represent her husband. While we understand her devotion and desire to defend her
husband whom she believed has suffered grave injustice, Atty. Lozada should not forget that she is first and foremost, an officer
of the court who is bound to obey the lawful order of the Court.

Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, as amended, willful disobedience to any lawful order of a superior
court is a ground for disbarment or suspension from the practice of law:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SEC. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court; grounds therefor. - A member of the bar may be disbarred
or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such
office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the
oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior
court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. The practice of
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.15
Atty. Lozada would have deserved a harsher penalty, but this Court recognizes the fact that it is part of the Filipino culture that
amid an adversity, families will always look out and extend a helping hand to a family member, more so, in this case, to a
spouse. Thus, considering that Atty. Lozada's actuation was prompted by her affection to her husband and that in essence, she
was not representing a client but rather a spouse, we deem it proper to mitigate the severeness of her penalty.

Following the recent case of Victor C. Lingan v. Atty. Romeo Calubaquib and Jimmy P. Baliga,16 citing Molina v. Atty.
Magat,17 where this Court suspended further respondents from the practice of law for six (6) months for practicing their
profession despite this court's previous order of suspension, we, thus, impose the same penalty on Atty. Lozada for representing
her husband as counsel despite lack of authority to practice law.

Disbarment of lawyers is a proceeding that aims to purge the law profession of unworthy members of the bar. It is intended to
preserve the nobility and honor of the legal profession. While the Supreme Court has the plenary power to discipline erring
lawyers through this kind of proceedings, it does so in the most vigilant manner so as not to frustrate its preservative principle.
The Court, in the exercise of its sound judicial discretion, is inclined to impose a less severe punishment if, through it, the end
desire of reforming the errant lawyer is possible.18chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Atty. Carmelita S. Bautista-Lozada is found GUILTY of violating Section 27,19 Rule
138 of the Rules of Court, and is hereby SUSPENDED for a period of six (6) months from the practice of law, with
a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar offense will warrant a more severe penalty.

Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for
their information and guidance. The Office of the Bar Confidant is DIRECTED to append a copy of this Decision to
respondent’s record as member of the Bar.

Atty. Lozada is DIRECTED to inform the Court of the date of her receipt of this Decision, so that we can determine the
reckoning point when her suspension shall take effect.

This Decision is immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.
[ CBD Case No. 176, January 20, 1995 ]

SALLY D. BONGALONTA, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. PABLITO M. CASTILLO AND ALFONSO M. MARTIJA,
RESPONDENTS.

RESOLUTION

MELO, J.:
In a sworn letter-complaint dated February 15, 1995, addressed to the Commission on Bar Discipline, National Grievance
Investigation Office, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, complainant Sally Bongalonta charged Pablito M. Castillo and Alfonso
M. Martija, members of the Philippine Bar, with unjust and unethical conduct, to wit: representing conflicting interests and
abetting a scheme to frustrate the execution or satisfaction of a judgment which complainant might obtain.

The letter-complaint stated that complainant filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Criminal Case No. 7653-55, for
estafa, against the Sps. Luisa and Solomer Abuel. She also filed, a separate civil action Civil Case No. 56934, where she was
able to obtain a writ of preliminary attachment and by virtue thereof, a piece of real property situated in Pasig, Rizal and
registered in the name of the Sps. Abuel under TCT No. 38374 was attached. Atty. Pablito Castillo was the counsel of the Sps.
Abuel in the aforesaid criminal and civil cases.

During the pendency of these cases, one Gregorio Lantin filed Civil Case No. 58650 for collection of a sum of money based on
a promissory note, also with the Pasig Regional Trial Court, against the Sps. Abuel. In the said case Gregorio Lantin was
represented by Atty. Alfonso Martija. In this case, the Sps. Abuel were declared in default for their failure to file the necessary
responsive pleading and evidence ex-parte was received against them followed by a judgment by default rendered in favor of
Gregorio Lantin. A writ of execution was, in due time, issued and the same property previously attached by complainant was
levied upon.

It is further alleged that in all the pleadings filed in these three (3) aforementioned cases, Atty. Pablito Castillo and Atty.
Alfonso Martija placed the same address, the same PTR and the same IBP receipt number, to wit: Permanent Light Center, No.
7, 21st Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, PTR No. 629411 dated 11-5-89 IBP No 246722 dated 1-12-88.

Thus, complainant concluded that Civil Case No. 58650 filed by Gregorio Lantin was merely a part of the scheme of the Sps.
Abuel to frustrate the satisfaction of the money judgment which complainant might obtain in Civil Case No. 56934.
After hearing, the IBP Board of Governors issued its Resolution with the following findings and recommendations:

Among the several documentary exhibits submitted by Bongalonta and attached to the records is a xerox copy of TCT No.
38374, which Bongalonta and the respondents admitted to be a faithful reproduction of the original. And it clearly appears
under the Memorandum of Encumbrances on aid TCT that the Notice of Levy in favor of Bongalonta and her husband was
registered and annotated in said title on February 7, 1989; whereas, that in favor of Gregorio Lantin, on October 18, 1989.
Needless to state, the notice of levy in favor of Bongalonta and her husband is a superior lien on the said registered property of
the Abuel spouses over that of Gregorio Lantin.

Consequently, the charge against the two respondents (i.e. representing conflicting interests and abetting a scheme to frustrate
the execution or satisfaction of a judgment which Bongalonta and her husband might obtain against the Abuel spouses) has no
leg to stand on.

However, as to the fact that indeed the two respondents placed in their appearances and in their pleadings the same IBP No.
"246722 dated 1-12-88", respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo deserves to be SUSPENDED for using, apparently thru his
negligence, the IBP official receipt number of respondent Atty. Alfonso M. Martija. According to the records of the IBP
National Office, Atty. Castillo paid P1,040.00 as his delinquent and current membership dues, on February 20, 1990, under IBP
O.R. No. 2900538, after Bongalonta filed her complaint with the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline.

The explanation of Atty. Castillo's Cashier-Secretary by the name of Ester Fraginal who alleged in her affidavit dated March 4,
1993 that it was all her fault in placing the IBP official receipt number pertaining to Atty. Alfonso M. Martija in the appearance
and pleadings of Atty. Castillo and in failing to pay in due time the IBP membership dues of her employer, deserves scant
consideration, for it is the bounded duty and obligation of every lawyer to see to it that he pays his IBP membership dues on
time, especially when he practices before the courts, as required by the Supreme Court.

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Pablito M. Castillo be SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of six (6) months for using the IBP Official Receipt No. of his co-respondent Atty. Alfonso M. Martija.

The complaint against Atty. Martija is hereby DISMISSED for lack of evidence. (pp. 2-4, Resolution)

The Court agrees with the foregoing findings and recommendations. It is well to stress again that the practice of law is not a
right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications
required by law for the conferment of such privilege. One of these requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. Courts
are entitled to expect only complete candor and honesty from the lawyers appearing and pleading before them. A lawyer, on the
other hand, has the fundamental duty to satisfy that expectation. For this reason, he is required to swear to do no falsehood, nor
consent to the doing of any in court.

WHEREFORE, finding respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo guilty of committing a falsehood in violation of his lawyer's oath
and of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND him from the practice of law for a period of
six (6) months, with a warning that commission of the same or similar offense in the future will result in the imposition of a
more severe penalty. A copy of the Resolution shall be spread on the personal record of respondent in the Office of the Bar
Confidant.

SO ORDERED.
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMISSION TO THE BAR AND OATH-TAKING OF SUCCESSFUL BAR APPLICANT
AL C. ARGOSINO, petitioner.

RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.:

A criminal information was filed on 4 February 1992 with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 101, charging Mr.
A.C. Argosino along with thirteen (13) other individuals, with the crime of homicide in connection with the death of one Raul
Camaligan on 8 September 1991. The death of Raul Camaligan stemmed from the infliction of severe physical injuries upon
him in the course of "hazing" conducted as part of university fraternity initiation rites. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused then
entered into plea bargaining with the prosecution and as a result of such bargaining, pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of
homicide through reckless imprudence. This plea was accepted by the trial court. In a judgment dated 11 February 1993, each of
the fourteen (14) accused individuals was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for a period ranging from two (2) years, four (4)
months and one (1) day to four (4) years.

Eleven (11) days later, Mr. Argosino and his colleagues filed an application for probation with the lower court. The application
for probation was granted in an Order dated 18 June 1993 issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Pedro T. Santiago. The period
of probation was set at two (2) years, counted from the probationer's initial report to the probation officer assigned to supervise
him.

Less than a month later, on 13 July 1993, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition for Admission to Take the 1993 Bar Examinations. In
this Petition, he disclosed the fact of his criminal conviction and his then probation status. He was allowed to take the 1993 Bar
Examinations in this Court's En Banc Resolution dated 14 August 1993.1 He passed the Bar Examination. He was not, however,
allowed to take the lawyer's oath of office.

On 15 April 1994, Mr. Argosino filed a Petition with this Court to allow him to take the attorney's oath of office and to admit
him to the practice of law, averring that Judge Pedro T. Santiago had terminated his probation period by virtue of an Order
dated 11 April 1994. We note that his probation period did not last for more than ten (10) months from the time of the Order of
Judge Santiago granting him probation dated 18 June 1993. Since then, Mr. Argosino has filed three (3) Motions for Early
Resolution of his Petition for Admission to the Bar.
The practice of law is not a natural, absolute or constitutional right to be granted to everyone who demands it. Rather, it is a
high personal privilege limited to citizens of good moral character, with special educational qualifications, duly ascertained
and certified.2 The essentiality of good moral character in those who would be lawyers is stressed in the following excerpts
which we quote with approval and which we regard as having persuasive effect:

In Re Farmer: 3

xxx xxx xxx

This "upright character" prescribed by the statute, as a condition precedent to the applicant's right to receive a
license to practice law in North Carolina, and of which he must, in addition to other requisites, satisfy the court,
includes all the elements necessary to make up such a character. It is something more than an absence of bad
character. It is the good name which the applicant has acquired, or should have acquired, through association with
his fellows. It means that he must have conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would, or
should, or does. Such character expresses itself, not in negatives nor in following the line of least resistance, but
quite often, in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and the resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is
wrong. . . .

xxx xxx xxx

And we may pause to say that this requirement of the statute is eminently proper. Consider for a moment the duties
of a lawyer. He is sought as counsellor, and his advice comes home, in its ultimate effect, to every man's
fireside. Vast interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and confidence; he deals
with is client's property, reputation, his life, his all. An attorney at law is a sworn officer of the Court, whose chief
concern, as such, is to aid the administration of justice. . . .

xxx xxx xxx4

In Re Application of Kaufman,5 citing Re Law Examination of 1926 (1926) 191 Wis 359, 210 NW 710:

It can also be truthfully said that there exists nowhere greater temptations to deviate from the straight and narrow
path than in the multiplicity of circumstances that arise in the practice of profession. For these reasons the wisdom
of requiring an applicant for admission to the bar to possess a high moral standard therefore becomes clearly
apparent, and the board of bar examiners as an arm of the court, is required to cause a minute examination to be
made of the moral standard of each candidate for admission to practice. . . . It needs no further argument, therefore,
to arrive at the conclusion that the highest degree of scrutiny must be exercised as to the moral character of a
candidate who presents himself for admission to the bar. The evil must, if possible, be successfully met at its very
source, and prevented, for, after a lawyer has once been admitted, and has pursued his profession, and has
established himself therein, a far more difficult situation is presented to the court when proceedings are instituted
for disbarment and for the recalling and annulment of his license.

In Re Keenan:6

The right to practice law is not one of the inherent rights of every citizen, as in the right to carry on an ordinary
trade or business. It is a peculiar privilege granted and continued only to those who demonstrate special fitness in
intellectual attainment and in moral character. All may aspire to it on an absolutely equal basis, but not all will
attain it. Elaborate machinery has been set up to test applicants by standards fair to all and to separate the fit from
the unfit. Only those who pass the test are allowed to enter the profession, and only those who maintain the
standards are allowed to remain in it.

Re Rouss:7

Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions, and a fair private and professional character is one
of them; to refuse admission to an unworthy applicant is not to punish him for past offense: an examination into
character, like the examination into learning, is merely a test of fitness.

Cobb vs. Judge of Superior Court:8

Attorney's are licensed because of their learning and ability, so that they may not only protect the rights and
interests of their clients, but be able to assist court in the trial of the cause. Yet what protection to clients or
assistance to courts could such agents give? They are required to be of good moral character, so that the agents
and officers of the court, which they are, may not bring discredit upon the due administration of the law, and it is
of the highest possible consequence that both those who have not such qualifications in the first instance, or who,
having had them, have fallen therefrom, shall not be permitted to appear in courts to aid in the administration of
justice.

It has also been stressed that the requirement of good moral character is, in fact, of greater importance so far as the general
public and the proper administration of justice are concerned, than the possession of legal learning:
. . . (In re Applicants for License, 55 S.E. 635, 143 N.C. 1, 10 L.R.A. [N.S.] 288, 10 Ann./Cas. 187):

The public policy of our state has always been to admit no person to the practice of the law unless he
covered an upright moral character. The possession of this by the attorney is more important, if
anything, to the public and to the proper administration of justice than legal learning. Legal learning
may be acquired in after years, but if the applicant passes the threshold of the bar with a bad moral
character the chances are that his character will remain bad, and that he will become a disgrace
instead of an ornament to his great calling — a curse instead of a benefit to his community — a
Quirk, a Gammon or a Snap, instead of a Davis, a Smith or a Ruffin.9

All aspects of moral character and behavior may be inquired into in respect of those seeking admission to the Bar. The scope of
such inquiry is, indeed, said to be properly broader than inquiry into the moral proceedings for disbarment:

Re Stepsay: 10

The inquiry as to the moral character of an attorney in a proceeding for his admission to practice is broader in
scope than in a disbarment proceeding.

Re Wells: 11

. . . that an applicant's contention that upon application for admission to the California Bar the court cannot reject
him for want of good moral character unless it appears that he has been guilty of acts which would be cause for his
disbarment or suspension, could not be sustained; that the inquiry is broader in its scope than that in a disbarment
proceeding, and the court may receive any evidence which tends to show the applicant's character as respects
honesty, integrity, and general morality, and may no doubt refuse admission upon proofs that might not establish
his guilt of any of the acts declared to be causes for disbarment.

The requirement of good moral character to be satisfied by those who would seek admission to the bar must of necessity be
more stringent than the norm of conduct expected from members of the general public. There is a very real need to prevent a
general perception that entry into the legal profession is open to individuals with inadequate moral qualifications. The growth of
such a perception would signal the progressive destruction of our people's confidence in their courts of law and in our legal
system as we know it.12
Mr. Argosino's participation in the deplorable "hazing" activities certainly fell far short of the required standard of good moral
character. The deliberate (rather than merely accidental or inadvertent) infliction of severe physical injuries which proximately
led to the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan, certainly indicated serious character flaws on the part of those who inflicted
such injuries. Mr. Argosino and his co-accused had failed to discharge their moral duty to protect the life and well-being of a
"neophyte" who had, by seeking admission to the fraternity involved, reposed trust and confidence in all of them that, at the
very least, he would not be beaten and kicked to death like a useless stray dog. Thus, participation in the prolonged and
mindless physical beatings inflicted upon Raul Camaligan constituted evident rejection of that moral duty and was totally
irresponsible behavior, which makes impossible a finding that the participant was then possessed of good moral character.

Now that the original period of probation granted by the trial court has expired, the Court is prepared to consider de novo the
question of whether applicant A.C. Argosino has purged himself of the obvious deficiency in moral character referred to above.
We stress that good moral character is a requirement possession of which must be demonstrated not only at the time of
application for permission to take the bar examinations but also, and more importantly, at the time of application for admission
to the bar and to take the attorney's oath of office.

Mr. Argosino must, therefore, submit to this Court, for its examination and consideration, evidence that he may be now
regarded as complying with the requirement of good moral character imposed upon those seeking admission to the bar. His
evidence may consist, inter alia, of sworn certifications from responsible members of the community who have a good
reputation for truth and who have actually known Mr. Argosino for a significant period of time, particularly since the judgment
of conviction was rendered by Judge Santiago. He should show to the Court how he has tried to make up for the senseless
killing of a helpless student to the family of the deceased student and to the community at large. Mr. Argosino must, in other
words, submit relevant evidence to show that he is a different person now, that he has become morally fit for admission to the
ancient and learned profession of the law.

Finally, Mr. Argosino is hereby DIRECTED to inform this Court, by appropriate written manifestation, of the names and
addresses of the father and mother (in default thereof, brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan), within ten (10) day from
notice hereof. Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished to the parents or brothers and sisters, if any, of Raul Camaligan.
G.R. No. 154207 April 27, 2007

FERDINAND A. CRUZ, Petitioner,


vs.
ALBERTO MINA, HON. ELEUTERIO F. GUERRERO and HON. ZENAIDA LAGUILLES, Respondents.

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, grounded on pure questions of law, with
Prayer for Preliminary Injunction assailing the Resolution dated May 3, 2002 promulgated by the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 116, Pasay City, in Civil Case No. 02-0137, which denied the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 45, Pasay City, in Criminal Case No. 00-1705;1 and the RTC’s Order dated June 5,
2002 denying the Motion for Reconsideration. No writ of preliminary injunction was issued by this Court.

The antecedents:

On September 25, 2000, Ferdinand A. Cruz (petitioner) filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as private
prosecutor, in Criminal Case No. 00-1705 for Grave Threats, where his father, Mariano Cruz, is the complaining witness.

The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law student, justifies his appearance as private prosecutor on the bases of
Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and the ruling of the Court En Banc in Cantimbuhan v. Judge Cruz, Jr.2 that a non-
lawyer may appear before the inferior courts as an agent or friend of a party litigant. The petitioner furthermore avers that his
appearance was with the prior conformity of the public prosecutor and a written authority of Mariano Cruz appointing him to be
his agent in the prosecution of the said criminal case.

However, in an Order dated February 1, 2002, the MeTC denied permission for petitioner to appear as private prosecutor on the
ground that Circular No. 19 governing limited law student practice in conjunction with Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court (Law
Student Practice Rule) should take precedence over the ruling of the Court laid down in Cantimbuhan; and set the case for
continuation of trial.3
On February 13, 2002, petitioner filed before the MeTC a Motion for Reconsideration seeking to reverse the February 1, 2002
Order alleging that Rule 138-A, or the Law Student Practice Rule, does not have the effect of superseding Section 34 of Rule
138, for the authority to interpret the rule is the source itself of the rule, which is the Supreme Court alone.

In an Order dated March 4, 2002, the MeTC denied the Motion for Reconsideration.

On April 2, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for Preliminary
Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order against the private respondent and the public respondent MeTC.

After hearing the prayer for preliminary injunction to restrain public respondent MeTC Judge from proceeding with Criminal
Case No. 00-1705 pending the Certiorari proceedings, the RTC, in a Resolution dated May 3, 2002, resolved to deny the
issuance of an injunctive writ on the ground that the crime of Grave Threats, the subject of Criminal Case No. 00-1705, is one
that can be prosecuted de oficio, there being no claim for civil indemnity, and that therefore, the intervention of a private
prosecutor is not legally tenable.

On May 9, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a Motion for Reconsideration. The petitioner argues that nowhere does the
law provide that the crime of Grave Threats has no civil aspect. And last, petitioner cites Bar Matter No. 730 dated June 10,
1997 which expressly provides for the appearance of a non-lawyer before the inferior courts, as an agent or friend of a party
litigant, even without the supervision of a member of the bar.

Pending the resolution of the foregoing Motion for Reconsideration before the RTC, the petitioner filed a Second Motion for
Reconsideration dated June 7, 2002 with the MeTC seeking the reversal of the March 4, 2002 Denial Order of the said court, on
the strength of Bar Matter No. 730, and a Motion to Hold In Abeyance the Trial dated June 10, 2002 of Criminal Case No. 00-
1705 pending the outcome of the certiorari proceedings before the RTC.

On June 5, 2002, the RTC issued its Order denying the petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.

Likewise, in an Order dated June 13, 2002, the MeTC denied the petitioner’s Second Motion for Reconsideration and his
Motion to Hold in Abeyance the Trial on the ground that the RTC had already denied the Entry of Appearance of petitioner
before the MeTC.

On July 30, 2002, the petitioner directly filed with this Court, the instant Petition and assigns the following errors:

I.
the respondent regional trial court abused its discretion when it resolved to deny the prayer for the writ of injunction of the
herein petitioner despite petitioner having established the necessity of granting the writ;

II.

THE RESPONDENT TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION, TANTAMOUNT TO IGNORANCE OF THE LAW,
WHEN IT RESOLVED TO DENY THE PRAYER FOR THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND THE
SUBSEQUENT MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE HEREIN PETITIONER ON THE BASIS THAT [GRAVE]
THREATS HAS NO CIVIL ASPECT, FOR THE SAID BASIS OF DENIAL IS NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW;

III.

THE RESPONDENT METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT DENIED THE MOTION
TO HOLD IN ABEYANCE TRIAL, WHEN WHAT WAS DENIED BY THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
IS THE ISSUANCE OF THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION and WHEN THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT IS YET TO DECIDE ON THE MERITS OF THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI;

IV.

THE RESPONDENT COURT[s] ARE CLEARLY IGNORING THE LAW WHEN THEY PATENTLY REFUSED TO HEED
TO [sic] THE CLEAR MANDATE OF THE LAPUT, CANTIMBUHAN AND BULACAN CASES, AS WELL AS BAR
MATTER NO. 730, PROVIDING FOR THE APPEARANCE OF NON-LAWYERS BEFORE THE LOWER COURTS
(MTC’S).4

This Court, in exceptional cases, and for compelling reasons, or if warranted by the nature of the issues reviewed, may take
cognizance of petitions filed directly before it.5

Considering that this case involves the interpretation, clarification, and implementation of Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court, Bar Matter No. 730, Circular No. 19 governing law student practice and Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, and the ruling
of the Court in Cantimbuhan, the Court takes cognizance of herein petition.

The basic question is whether the petitioner, a law student, may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party
litigant.
The courts a quo held that the Law Student Practice Rule as encapsulated in Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, prohibits the
petitioner, as a law student, from entering his appearance in behalf of his father, the private complainant in the criminal case
without the supervision of an attorney duly accredited by the law school.

Rule 138-A or the Law Student Practice Rule, provides:

RULE 138-A
LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE

Section 1. Conditions for Student Practice. – A law student who has successfully completed his 3rd year of the regular four-year
prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law school's clinical legal education program approved by the
Supreme Court, may appear without compensation in any civil, criminal or administrative case before any trial court, tribunal,
board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by the legal clinic of the law school.

Sec. 2. Appearance. – The appearance of the law student authorized by this rule, shall be under the direct supervision and
control of a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines duly accredited by the law school. Any and all pleadings, motions,
briefs, memoranda or other papers to be filed, must be signed by the supervising attorney for and in behalf of the legal clinic.

However, in Resolution6 dated June 10, 1997 in Bar Matter No. 730, the Court En Banc clarified:

The rule, however, is different if the law student appears before an inferior court, where the issues and procedure are relatively
simple. In inferior courts, a law student may appear in his personal capacity without the supervision of a lawyer. Section 34,
Rule 138 provides:

Sec. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. - In the court of a justice of the peace, a party may conduct his litigation in person,
with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party
may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly
authorized member of the bar.

Thus, a law student may appear before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party without the supervision of a member of
the bar.7 (Emphasis supplied)

The phrase "In the court of a justice of the peace" in Bar Matter No. 730 is subsequently changed to "In the court of a
municipality" as it now appears in Section 34 of Rule 138, thus: 8
SEC. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. — In the Court of a municipality a party may conduct his litigation in person, with
the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may
conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized
member of the bar. (Emphasis supplied)

which is the prevailing rule at the time the petitioner filed his Entry of Appearance with the MeTC on September 25, 2000. No
real distinction exists for under Section 6, Rule 5 of the Rules of Court, the term "Municipal Trial Courts" as used in these Rules
shall include Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts.

There is really no problem as to the application of Section 34 of Rule 138 and Rule 138-A. In the former, the appearance of a
non-lawyer, as an agent or friend of a party litigant, is expressly allowed, while the latter rule provides for conditions when a
law student, not as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, may appear before the courts.

Petitioner expressly anchored his appearance on Section 34 of Rule 138. The court a quo must have been confused by the fact
that petitioner referred to himself as a law student in his entry of appearance. Rule 138-A should not have been used by the
courts a quo in denying permission to act as private prosecutor against petitioner for the simple reason that Rule 138-A is not
the basis for the petitioner’s appearance.

Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the inferior courts by a non-lawyer is allowed, irrespective of whether or
not he is a law student. As succinctly clarified in Bar Matter No. 730, by virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may
appear, as an agent or a friend of a party litigant, without the supervision of a lawyer before inferior courts.

Petitioner further argues that the RTC erroneously held that, by its very nature, no civil liability may flow from the crime of
Grave Threats, and, for this reason, the intervention of a private prosecutor is not possible.

It is clear from the RTC Decision that no such conclusion had been in tended by the RTC. In denying the
issuance of the injunctive court, the RTC stated in its Decision that there was no claim for civil liability by
the private complainant for damages, and that the records of the case do not provide for a claim for
indemnity; and that therefore, petitioners appearance as private prosecutor appears to be legally untenable.

Under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable
except in instances when no actual damage results from an offense, such as espionage, violation of neutrality,
flight to an enemy country, and crime against popular representation. [ 9 ] The basic rule applies in the instant
case, such that when a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recov ery of civil liability arising
from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with criminal action, unless the offended party waives the
civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal
action. [ 1 0]
The petitioner is correct in stating that there being no reservation, waiver, nor prior institution of the civil
aspect in Criminal Case No. 00 -1705, it follows that the civil aspect arising from Grave Threats is deemed
instituted with the criminal action, and, hence, the private prosecutor may rightfully intervene to prosecute
the civil aspect.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution and Order of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 116, Pasay City are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch
45, Pasay City is DIRECTED to ADMIT the Entry of Appearance of petitioner in Criminal Case No. 00 -1705
as a private prosecutor under the direct control and supervision of the public prosecutor.

No pronouncement as to costs.
[B.M. No. 1370. May 9, 2005]

LETTER OF ATTY. CECILIO Y. AREVALO, JR., REQUESTING EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF IBP DUES.

DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This is a request for exemption from payment of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) dues filed by petitioner Atty.
Cecilio Y. Arevalo, Jr.
In his letter,[1] dated 22 September 2004, petitioner sought exemption from payment of IBP dues in the amount of P12,035.00
as alleged unpaid accountability for the years 1977-2005. He alleged that after being admitted to the Philippine Bar in 1961, he
became part of the Philippine Civil Service from July 1962 until 1986, then migrated to, and worked in, the USA in December
1986 until his retirement in the year 2003. He maintained that he cannot be assessed IBP dues for the years that he was working
in the Philippine Civil Service since the Civil Service law prohibits the practice of ones profession while in government service,
and neither can he be assessed for the years when he was working in the USA.
On 05 October 2004, the letter was referred to the IBP for comment.[2]
On 16 November 2004, the IBP submitted its comment [3] stating inter alia: that membership in the IBP is not based on the
actual practice of law; that a lawyer continues to be included in the Roll of Attorneys as long as he continues to be a member of
the IBP; that one of the obligations of a member is the payment of annual dues as determined by the IBP Board of Governors and
duly approved by the Supreme Court as provided for in Sections 9 and 10, Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court; that the validity of
imposing dues on the IBP members has been upheld as necessary to defray the cost of an Integrated Bar Program; and that the
policy of the IBP Board of Governors of no exemption from payment of dues is but an implementation of the Courts directives
for all members of the IBP to help in defraying the cost of integration of the bar. It maintained that there is no rule allowing the
exemption of payment of annual dues as requested by respondent, that what is allowed is voluntary termination and reinstatement
of membership. It asserted that what petitioner could have done was to inform the secretary of the IBP of his intention to stay
abroad, so that his membership in the IBP could have been terminated, thus, his obligation to pay dues could have been stopped.
It also alleged that the IBP Board of Governors is in the process of discussing proposals for the creation of an inactive status for
its members, which if approved by the Board of Governors and by this Court, will exempt inactive IBP members from payment
of the annual dues.
In his reply[4] dated 22 February 2005, petitioner contends that what he is questioning is the IBP Board of Governors Policy
of Non-Exemption in the payment of annual membership dues of lawyers regardless of whether or not they are engaged in active
or inactive practice. He asseverates that the Policy of Non-Exemption in the payment of annual membership dues suffers from
constitutional infirmities, such as equal protection clause and the due process clause. He also posits that compulsory payment of
the IBP annual membership dues would indubitably be oppressive to him considering that he has been in an inactive status and is
without income derived from his law practice. He adds that his removal from nonpayment of annual membership dues would
constitute deprivation of property right without due process of law. Lastly, he claims that non-practice of law by a lawyer-member
in inactive status is neither injurious to active law practitioners, to fellow lawyers in inactive status, nor to the community where
the inactive lawyers-members reside.
Plainly, the issue here is: whether or nor petitioner is entitled to exemption from payment of his dues during the time that he
was inactive in the practice of law that is, when he was in the Civil Service from 1962-1986 and he was working abroad from
1986-2003?
We rule in the negative.
An Integrated Bar is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished from bar association
organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by
which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his shares in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as
obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the direction of the State, an Integrated Bar is an official
national body of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the
governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes
of the Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility, breach of which constitutes sufficient
reason for investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the
offending member.[5]
The integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of the entire lawyer population. This requires membership
and financial support of every attorney as condition sine qua non to the practice of law and the retention of his name in the Roll
of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.[6]
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not to attend the meetings of his
Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is
the payment of his annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to foster the States legitimate interest in elevating the quality of
professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and
beneficiaries of the regulatory program the lawyers.[7]
Moreover, there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court, under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate
rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and in the integration of the Philippine Bar [8] - which power required
members of a privileged class, such as lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the
profession to which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is, indeed, imposed as a regulatory measure, designed to raise
funds for carrying out the noble objectives and purposes of integration.
The rationale for prescribing dues has been explained in the Integration of the Philippine Bar,[9] thus:

For the court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean that the Court is attempting to levy a tax.

A membership fee in the Bar association is an exaction for regulation, while tax purpose of a tax is a revenue. If the judiciary
has inherent power to regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident to regulation, it may impose a membership fee for that
purpose. It would not be possible to put on an integrated Bar program without means to defray the expenses. The doctrine of
implied powers necessarily carries with it the power to impose such exaction.

The only limitation upon the States power to regulate the privilege of law is that the regulation does not impose an
unconstitutional burden. The public interest promoted by the integration of the Bar far outweighs the slight inconvenience to a
member resulting from his required payment of the annual dues.

Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the
compulsory nature of payment of dues subsists for as long as ones membership in the IBP remains regardless of the lack of
practice of, or the type of practice, the member is engaged in.
There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment of membership dues. At most, as correctly observed
by the IBP, he could have informed the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay abroad before he left. In such case,
his membership in the IBP could have been terminated and his obligation to pay dues could have been discontinued.
As abovementioned, the IBP in its comment stated that the IBP Board of Governors is in the process of discussing the situation
of members under inactive status and the nonpayment of their dues during such inactivity. In the meantime, petitioner is duty
bound to comply with his obligation to pay membership dues to the IBP.
Petitioner also contends that the enforcement of the penalty of removal would amount to a deprivation of property without
due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights.
This question has been settled in the case of In re Atty. Marcial Edillon,[10] in this wise:
. . . Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to practice a
profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it [is] clear that under the police power of the State, and under the
necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents right to practice law before the courts of this
country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure
is recognize[d], then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not
void as unreasonable or arbitrary.

But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, and as such must bow to the
inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyers public responsibilities.

As a final note, it must be borne in mind that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions,[11] one of which
is the payment of membership dues. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrants
such drastic move.
WHEREFORE, petitioners request for exemption from payment of IBP dues is DENIED. He is ordered to pay P12,035.00,
the amount assessed by the IBP as membership fees for the years 1977-2005, within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from
receipt of this decision, with a warning that failure to do so will merit his suspension from the practice of law.
SO ORDERED.
SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR., complainant, vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO R. LLAMAS, respondent.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a complaint for misrepresentation and non-payment of bar membership dues filed against respondent Atty. Francisco R.
Llamas.

In a letter-complaint to this Court dated February 8, 1997, complainant Soliman M. Santos, Jr., himself a member of the bar,
alleged that:

On my oath as an attorney, I wish to bring to your attention and appropriate sanction the matter of Atty. Francisco
R. Llamas who, for a number of years now, has not indicated the proper PTR and IBP O.R. Nos. and data (date &
place of issuance) in his pleadings. If at all, he only indicates "IBP Rizal 259060" but he has been using this for at
least three years already, as shown by the following attached sample pleadings in various courts in 1995, 1996 and
1997: (originals available)

Annex "Ex-Parte Manifestation and Submission" dated


A.......- December 1, 1995 in Civil Case No. Q-95-
25253, RTC, Br. 224, QC
Annex "Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation Motion" dated
B.......- November 13, 1996 in Sp. Proc. No. 95-030,
RTC Br. 259 (not 257), Paraaque, MM
Annex "An Urgent and Respectful Plea for extension of
C.......- Time to File Required Comment and
Opposition" dated January 17, 1997 in CA-G.R.
SP (not Civil Case) No. 42286, CA 6th Div.

This matter is being brought in the context of Rule 138, Section 1 which qualifies that only a duly admitted
member of the bar "who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law". There is also Rule 139-A,
Section 10 which provides that "default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of
membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of
the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys."

Among others, I seek clarification (e.g. a certification) and appropriate action on the bar standing of Atty.
Francisco R. Llamas both with the Bar Confidant and with the IBP, especially its Rizal Chapter of which Atty.
Llamas purports to be a member. Jksm

Please note that while Atty. Llamas indicates "IBP Rizal 259060" sometimes, he does not indicate any PTR for
payment of professional tax.

Under the Rules, particularly Rule 138, Sections 27 and 28, suspension of an attorney may be done not only by the
Supreme Court but also by the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court (thus, we are also copy furnishing some
of these courts).

Finally, it is relevant to note the track record of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas, as shown by:

1........his dismissal as Pasay City Judge per Supreme Court Admin. Matter No. 1037-CJ En Banc Decision on
October 28, 1981 ( in SCRA )

2........his conviction for estafa per Decision dated June 30, 1994 in Crim. Case No. 11787, RTC Br. 66, Makati,
MM (see attached copy of the Order dated February 14, 1995 denying the motion for reconsideration of the
conviction which is purportedly on appeal in the Court of Appeals).

Attached to the letter-complaint were the pleadings dated December 1, 1995, November 13, 1996, and January 17, 1997
referred to by complainant, bearing, at the end thereof, what appears to be respondents signature above his name, address and
the receipt number "IBP Rizal 259060."[1] Also attached was a copy of the order,[2] dated February 14, 1995, issued by Judge
Eriberto U. Rosario, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati, denying respondents motion for reconsideration of his
conviction, in Criminal Case No. 11787, for violation of Art. 316, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code.

On April 18, 1997, complainant filed a certification[3] dated March 18, 1997, by the then president of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, Atty. Ida R. Macalinao-Javier, that respondents "last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991. Since then he has not
paid or remitted any amount to cover his membership fees up to the present."
On July 7, 1997, respondent was required to comment on the complaint within ten days from receipt of notice, after which the
case was referred to the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation. In his comment-memorandum,[4] dated June 3, 1998,
respondent alleged:[5]

3. That with respect to the complainants absurd claim that for using in 1995, 1996 and 1997 the same O.R. No.
259060 of the Rizal IBP, respondent is automatically no longer a member in good standing.

Precisely, as cited under the context of Rule 138, only an admitted member of the bar who is in good standing is
entitled to practice law.

The complainants basis in claiming that the undersigned was no longer in good standing, were as above cited, the
October 28, 1981 Supreme Court decision of dismissal and the February 14, 1995 conviction for Violation of
Article 316 RPC, concealment of encumbrances. Chief

As above pointed out also, the Supreme Court dismissal decision was set aside and reversed and respondent was
even promoted from City Judge of Pasay City to Regional Trial Court Judge of Makati, Br. 150.

Also as pointed out, the February 14, 1995 decision in Crim. Case No. 11787 was appealed to the Court of Appeals
and is still pending.

Complainant need not even file this complaint if indeed the decision of dismissal as a Judge was never set aside
and reversed, and also had the decision of conviction for a light felony, been affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
Undersigned himself would surrender his right or privilege to practice law.

4. That complainant capitalizes on the fact that respondent had been delinquent in his dues.

Undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it clear per his Income Tax Return, up to the present, that he had only
a limited practice of law. In fact, in his Income Tax Return, his principal occupation is a farmer of which he is. His
30 hectares orchard and pineapple farm is located at Calauan, Laguna.

Moreover, and more than anything else, respondent being a Senior Citizen since 1992, is legally exempt under
Section 4 of Rep. Act 7432 which took effect in 1992, in the payment of taxes, income taxes as an example. Being
thus exempt, he honestly believe in view of his detachment from a total practice of law, but only in a limited
practice, the subsequent payment by him of dues with the Integrated Bar is covered by such exemption. In fact, he
never exercised his rights as an IBP member to vote and be voted upon.

Nonetheless, if despite such honest belief of being covered by the exemption and if only to show that he never in
any manner wilfully and deliberately failed and refused compliance with such dues, he is willing at any time to
fulfill and pay all past dues even with interests, charges and surcharges and penalties. He is ready to tender such
fulfillment or payment, not for allegedly saving his skin as again irrelevantly and frustratingly insinuated for
vindictive purposes by the complainant, but as an honest act of accepting reality if indeed it is reality for him to pay
such dues despite his candor and honest belief in all food faith, to the contrary. Esmsc

On December 4, 1998, the IBP Board of Governors passed a resolution[6] adopting and approving the report and
recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner which found respondent guilty, and recommended his suspension from the
practice of law for three months and until he pays his IBP dues. Respondent moved for a reconsideration of the decision, but
this was denied by the IBP in a resolution,[7] dated April 22, 1999. Hence, pursuant to Rule 139-B, 12(b) of the Rules of Court,
this case is here for final action on the decision of the IBP ordering respondents suspension for three months.

The findings of IBP Commissioner Alfredo Sanz are as follows:

On the first issue, Complainant has shown "respondents non-indication of the proper IBP O.R. and PTR numbers
in his pleadings (Annexes "A", "B" and "C" of the letter complaint, more particularly his use of "IBP Rizal 259060
for at least three years."

The records also show a "Certification dated March 24, 1997 from IBP Rizal Chapter President Ida R. Makahinud
Javier that respondents last payment of his IBP dues was in 1991."

While these allegations are neither denied nor categorically admitted by respondent, he has invoked and cited that
"being a Senior Citizen since 1992, he is legally exempt under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7432 which took
effect in 1992 in the payment of taxes, income taxes as an example."

....

The above cited provision of law is not applicable in the present case. In fact, respondent admitted that he is still in
the practice of law when he alleged that the "undersigned since 1992 have publicly made it clear per his Income tax
Return up to the present time that he had only a limited practice of law." (par. 4 of Respondents Memorandum).
Therefore respondent is not exempt from paying his yearly dues to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Esmmis

On the second issue, complainant claims that respondent has misled the court about his standing in the IBP by
using the same IBP O.R. number in his pleadings of at least six years and therefore liable for his actions.
Respondent in his memorandum did not discuss this issue.

First. Indeed, respondent admits that since 1992, he has engaged in law practice without having paid his IBP dues. He likewise
admits that, as appearing in the pleadings submitted by complainant to this Court, he indicated "IBP-Rizal 259060" in the
pleadings he filed in court, at least for the years 1995, 1996, and 1997, thus misrepresenting that such was his IBP chapter
membership and receipt number for the years in which those pleadings were filed. He claims, however, that he is only engaged
in a "limited" practice and that he believes in good faith that he is exempt from the payment of taxes, such as income tax, under
R.A. No. 7432, 4 as a senior citizen since 1992.

Rule 139-A provides:

Sec. 9. Membership dues. - Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board of
Governors shall determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. A fixed sum equivalent to ten percent (10%) of
the collections from each Chapter shall be set aside as a Welfare Fund for disabled members of the Chapter and the
compulsory heirs of deceased members thereof.

Sec. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. - Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in the
payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default
in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the
Roll of Attorneys.

In accordance with these provisions, respondent can engage in the practice of law only by paying his dues, and it does not
matter that his practice is "limited." While it is true that R.A. No. 7432, 4 grants senior citizens "exemption from the payment of
individual income taxes: provided, that their annual taxable income does not exceed the poverty level as determined by the
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for that year," the exemption does not include payment of membership
or association dues.

Second. By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and thereby misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had
paid his IBP dues to the Rizal Chapter, respondent is guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides:
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE
LEGAL PROFESSION, AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR. Esmso

CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT.

Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any court; nor shall he mislead or
allow the court to be misled by any artifice.

Respondents failure to pay his IBP dues and his misrepresentation in the pleadings he filed in court indeed merit the most severe
penalty. However, in view of respondents advanced age, his express willingness to pay his dues and plea for a more temperate
application of the law,[8] we believe the penalty of one year suspension from the practice of law or until he has paid his IBP
dues, whichever is later, is appropriate.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR, or until
he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later. Let a copy of this decision be attached to Atty. Llamas personal record in the
Office of the Bar Confidant and copies be furnished to all chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and to all courts in
the land.

SO ORDERED.
from the RTC Decision that no such conclusion had been intended by the RTC. In denying the issuance of the injunctive court,
the RTC stated in its Decision that there was no claim for civil liability by the private complainant for damages, and that the
records of the case do not provide for a claim for indemnity; and that therefore, petitioner’s appearance as private prosecutor
appears to be legally untenable.

Under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable except in instances
when no actual damage results from an offense, such as espionage, violation of neutrality, flight to an enemy country, and crime
against popular representation.9 The basic rule applies in the instant case, such that when a criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with criminal action, unless
the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the
criminal action.10

The petitioner is correct in stating that there being no reservation, waiver, nor prior institution of the civil aspect in Criminal
Case No. 00-1705, it follows that the civil aspect arising from Grave Threats is deemed instituted with the criminal action, and,
hence, the private prosecutor may rightfully intervene to prosecute the civil aspect.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution and Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 116, Pasay
City are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 45, Pasay City is DIRECTED to ADMIT the
Entry of Appearance of petitioner in Criminal Case No. 00-1705 as a private prosecutor under the direct control and supervision
of the public prosecutor.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
B.M. No. 1678 December 17, 2007

PETITION FOR LEAVE TO RESUME PRACTICE OF LAW,


BENJAMIN M. DACANAY, petitioner.

RESOLUTION

CORONA, J.:

This bar matter concerns the petition of petitioner Benjamin M. Dacanay for leave to resume the practice of law.

Petitioner was admitted to the Philippine bar in March 1960. He practiced law until he migrated to Canada in December 1998 to
seek medical attention for his ailments. He subsequently applied for Canadian citizenship to avail of Canada’s free medical aid
program. His application was approved and he became a Canadian citizen in May 2004.

On July 14, 2006, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003), petitioner
reacquired his Philippine citizenship.1 On that day, he took his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine
Consulate General in Toronto, Canada. Thereafter, he returned to the Philippines and now intends to resume his law practice.
There is a question, however, whether petitioner Benjamin M. Dacanay lost his membership in the Philippine bar when he gave
up his Philippine citizenship in May 2004. Thus, this petition.

In a report dated October 16, 2007, the Office of the Bar Confidant cites Section 2, Rule 138 (Attorneys and Admission to Bar)
of the Rules of Court:

SECTION 2. Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar. – Every applicant for admission as a member of
the bar must be a citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character, and a resident of
the Philippines; and must produce before the Supreme Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and that no
charges against him, involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines.

Applying the provision, the Office of the Bar Confidant opines that, by virtue of his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship, in
2006, petitioner has again met all the qualifications and has none of the disqualifications for membership in the bar. It
recommends that he be allowed to resume the practice of law in the Philippines, conditioned on his retaking the lawyer’s oath to
remind him of his duties and responsibilities as a member of the Philippine bar.
We approve the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant with certain modifications.

The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions.2 It is so delicately affected with public interest that it is both a
power and a duty of the State (through this Court) to control and regulate it in order to protect and promote the public welfare.3

Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of morality, faithful observance of the rules of
the legal profession, compliance with the mandatory continuing legal education requirement and payment of membership fees
to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are the conditions required for membership in good standing in the bar and for
enjoying the privilege to practice law. Any breach by a lawyer of any of these conditions makes him unworthy of the trust and
confidence which the courts and clients repose in him for the continued exercise of his professional privilege. 4

Section 1, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides:

SECTION 1. Who may practice law. – Any person heretofore duly admitted as a member of the bar, or thereafter
admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of this Rule, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to
practice law.

Pursuant thereto, any person admitted as a member of the Philippine bar in accordance with the statutory requirements and who
is in good and regular standing is entitled to practice law.

Admission to the bar requires certain qualifications. The Rules of Court mandates that an applicant for admission to the bar be a
citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character and a resident of the Philippines.5 He must
also produce before this Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character and that no charges against him, involving moral
turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the Philippines.6

Moreover, admission to the bar involves various phases such as furnishing satisfactory proof of educational, moral and other
qualifications;7 passing the bar examinations;8 taking the lawyer’s oath9 and signing the roll of attorneys and receiving from the
clerk of court of this Court a certificate of the license to practice.10

The second requisite for the practice of law ― membership in good standing ― is a continuing requirement. This means
continued membership and, concomitantly, payment of annual membership dues in the IBP; 11 payment of the annual
professional tax;12 compliance with the mandatory continuing legal education requirement;13 faithful observance of the rules and
ethics of the legal profession and being continually subject to judicial disciplinary control.14
Given the foregoing, may a lawyer who has lost his Filipino citizenship still practice law in the Philippines? No.

The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens save in cases
prescribed by law.15 Since Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss thereof terminates membership in
the Philippine bar and, consequently, the privilege to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino
citizenship ipso jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines. The practice of law is a privilege denied to
foreigners.16

The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of naturalization as a citizen of another country but subsequently
reacquired pursuant to RA 9225. This is because "all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall
be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of [RA 9225]."17Therefore, a Filipino lawyer who
becomes a citizen of another country is deemed never to have lost his Philippine citizenship if he reacquires it in accordance
with RA 9225. Although he is also deemed never to have terminated his membership in the Philippine bar, no automatic right
to resume law practice accrues.

Under RA 9225, if a person intends to practice the legal profession in the Philippines and he reacquires his Filipino citizenship
pursuant to its provisions "(he) shall apply with the proper authority for a license or permit to engage in such practice."18 Stated
otherwise, before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume his law practice, he must first
secure from this Court the authority to do so, conditioned on:

(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;

(b) the payment of professional tax;

(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education; this is specially significant to
refresh the applicant/petitioner’s knowledge of Philippine laws and update him of legal developments and

(d) the retaking of the lawyer’s oath which will not only remind him of his duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and as
an officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.

Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member of the Philippine bar.
WHEREFORE, the petition of Attorney Benjamin M. Dacanay is hereby GRANTED, subject to compliance with the
conditions stated above and submission of proof of such compliance to the Bar Confidant, after which he may retake his oath as
a member of the Philippine bar.

SO ORDERED.